This morning I'm looking at the facebooks and seeing tons of graduation photos.
This would have been graduation time for Jess, had she not withdrawn from school after, what Ben Folds sings, "three sad semesters, cost me only 15 grand."
She made the decision she had to make for reasons known to me and some that remain unknown still.
God knows she's a big help being here in the house and in our lives. But I feel this "failure to launch" kind of thing going on in life with her.
Maybe not a full failure to launch but more of a "yeah, we had a launch and then got scared about something in the plane so we turned around and landed carefully and TSA removed the threat from the cabin but now we're not gonna launch again" thing.
I suppose it is better than "we had a launch and then we crashed and burned horribly in a field somewhere in the middle of nowhere."
I'm looking at the newsfeed and seeing all these photos of kids she graduated high school with, wearing those caps and gowns, walking up to podiums, smiling with their parents. There are the kids of my friends from high school or college, kids I don't know, all diplomaed and graduated up.
It is an instant news flood, it is a stab to the heart each time I see one of their smiling faces and I think of how sad and dissatisfied with the universe my kid is.
This feeling didn't hurt me with all the prom pictures, or even some of the wedding pictures that I've seen (yes, kids who graduated with my daughter and AFTER my daughter are getting married). The feeling I get when I see the prom pictures isn't the same - because Jess chose a different path with prom too, but it was one that brought her joy and fun.
Instead of "wasting money on prom" listening to "songs that make her want to stab her eardrums out" she had "Pie Prom" for a couple of years. Her friends came over and they baked pies. Pies are so much cooler, and you can buy expensive high-end ingredients and still only pay a fraction of the cost that the ticket, the dress, the suit, the flowers and all that crap would cost. And you get to listen to music you want to listen to, and you get to eat pie.
Pie prom was a successful, quirky, Jess perfect alternative to the stupidity of Prom.
But she hasn't yet discovered the Jess perfect alternative to the stupidity of a Bachelor's Degree. Instead she's home, watching anime, running the dishwasher, and not making successful real adult forays out into the world.
I know, I know. Everyone runs on their own life schedule. I've recognized the "different life path" thing even for myself. It took me six years to get my undergraduate degree. You have to want it. You have to say "this is my goal, I will work towards it, I will take time off and work three part time jobs and cry because I'm exhausted" and want to get it.
For Jess, I have no idea what she wants. And I don't think she knows what she wants. And it is frustrating.
I kind of feel like someday she'll figure something out. She's interviewing for jobs. She interviewed for two part time jobs this week that if she gets them she'll be working more than full time hours. I think that if she gets to that point she'll get more confident and will start to figure out what she wants to do.
And maybe someday she'll achieve that cap and gown moment, and not wear it, not walk across a stage, not shake hands with some college president she doesn't know but will have a Pie Commencement instead.
In the meantime... I'll settle for seeing "my kids" get their degrees and send them love and congratulations from the couch.