It looked more like a college than a high school graduation. The floor of the arena had over 1400 chairs lined up for the graduates who poured in from four different entrances.
From way up there in the nose bleed section, they all looked like marching ants, identically dressed in maroon caps and gowns. There was a Jumbotron showing random angles, but we really didn’t think we’d know which one was Kara until they called her name right before handing her the diploma.
I was determined to know where she was amongst this sea of newborn adults for the entire ceremony, not just at the end. I wanted to hang on to every single moment of her childhood, young adulthood, to her.
I quickly developed a method to find her. First, I placed an imaginary alphabetically ordered grid over the seats and predicted the section she would sit.
Next, I kept an eye on the entrance that fed kids into that area. I ruled out the tall kids, or any of them who didn’t have long, straight blonde hair. That might seem easy enough, but they all looked the same height from my perspective, and almost all the girls have long blonde hair. This is Texas.
I had to yank out the secret weapon.
I ran those kids’ “walk” though my “mamma-knows-her-kid” filter.
Kara has always had this walk like a ballerina. She tip toes with these light, brisk steps while her upper body tilts a little forward. Like she can’t wait to get somewhere (she can’t). Her head glides smoothly with each step. Reminds me also of a hummingbird.
When she’s nervous, throw in a dramatic arm swing.
That swing is what I noticed first.
“That’s her!” I yelped, and finished to myself, That’s my girl.
It was. And she will always be my Sweetpea, my girl.