It took a Papa Murphy’s pizza to make me cry today.
I was doing so good with Nick’s graduation day until I walked into that pizza shop. It wasn’t so much the pizza as the moment though. That moment where so many senses came together in a perfect emotional storm.
I had just been texting my friend who has a son graduating tonight too. She was a mess. I wasn’t. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why this wasn’t getting to me. Maybe it was because I KNOW Nick is ready…he is so ready to check high school off his list of life experiences.
But then I walked into Papa Murphy’s and right as the door closed behind me the familiar guitar strums of John Cougar Mellencamp’s Small Town echoed around me. And as I ordered and then stepped back to watch my Cowboy Pizza and half cheese-half Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza being assembled I listened to his words
Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic that’s me
But then JCM’s lyrics were interrupted by a voice, a classmate of Hannah’s who works there. He made a comment that he had heard about Nick doing well in the senior awards assembly yesterday. I smiled and said something like, “He’s worked hard the past four years.” He asked where Nick was going next year. I told him U of W. He was impressed. The U of W is a hard school to get into. Then, as Small Town continued to provide background music to our conversation I proudly listed off ALL the kids from our small town who are going to the University of Washington.
No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be
And slowly the tears began to fall. Not for the fact my son is graduating today but for the gratitude I have for living in this community, this small town, that has helped raise my son to the man he is today.
Our kids have grown up in a small town and I am certain that as life takes them away from this place they will never forget where it is they come from nor will they forget the people who love them. We have allowed them to be themselves in our small town, to let them be just what they want to be.
I laughed to myself, between my tears. Our small town. It is the lyrics to many a country song.
It can be a curse or it can be a blessing, living in a small town. Today, on the day my son graduates from high school? It is simply a beautiful blessing.