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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Medical school commencement

Commencement: To begin, to enter in, to start.

The first day of school. Pencils, check. Notebook (electronic), check. Big pink erasers, check. Bike headlight, check.

I'm remembering the shopping trips that netted big bags of yellow number 2 pencils, chubby-finger primary color crayola brand crayons, Elmer's glue, a red pen for the teacher, Hello Kitty folders, pink backpacks, and a plastic protractor. I loved those trips for school supplies.

Every year our trip was itself a sign of forward movement. From Hello Kitty to horses to, finally, plain color folders. Big trapper binders. Expensive calculators.

How does it go so fast? The girls don't think so. They think, "FINALLY!" I'm thinking, "what, where, when did it pass?"

Medical school commencement. The first day of school. A ceremony that involved a stethoscope, an oath (think Hippocratic only updated to allow cutting of skin), and a sleek white coat. A processional, a recessional. Suit coats and fancy dresses.

Now we have gone from locker partners to "body buddies," from algebra to anatomy.

She is a woman. Her own woman. Still ours but more hers. It jolts the system, I confess. Even while it feels right. She can cut skin and bonk people on the knee to check reflexes and, before we left, she confirmed that each of us has a heart.

Commencement. It has begun.

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