He marched down the aisle, in his bright gold gown, his hat perched jauntily on top of his head. "Hey, he's keeping the hat on!" I said to his father, and he echoed my surprise. For a moment, I thought he'd blow the whole ceremony because he saw me and immediately raced down the aisle into my arms screaming "Mommy!" I gave him a quick hug, and reminded him that he needed to keep walking till he got to the chairs. He said "OK. I'm walking!" Then he jumped back into the procession, made it to his chair, and stayed in it in a very well-behaved manner, in fact, he was better behaved than most of them.
I sat there smiling, trying my hardest not to cry. I knew if he saw me, he'd leave his chair and come running to comfort me. David doesn't yet understand tears of happiness, but he will someday. I know it.
Near the end of the ceremony, the teachers asked the children to stand one-by-one, and then they asked each in turn what they want to be when they grow up. They had practiced this with David, and we all agreed to try to teach him to say "Musician". David is a very musical child, with one heck of a singing voice, so we figured it was as close to what he'd like as we could get, since he couldn't really understand "growing up" and all that it entails.
David had a different plan for his future, it turned out.
"David," Called Miss Connie, gaily, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"David!!" He answered, without a pause and with great gusto. The audience laughed indulgently.
"Yes, your name is David." She tried to remind him of the subject at hand. "What does David want
to be when he grows up?"
He stared at her in bewilderment, then turned his eyes to the middle of the crowd, looking for me. I smiled and said "Go ahead, David. What do you want to be?"
He thumped his chest proudly and said quite firmly: "David! I be David."
And that was that.
And as always, I underestimated him. David will be exactly who he is, and nothing less. As he was meant to be. As he is destined to be. If only I could have one tenth of the gusto to live my life as he does, fearlessly, persistently, and with no apologies.
Two years before, I didn't think he would be there, or at least, not as soon. But there it was, and there he was, graduating from pre-school, and on his way to Kindergarten where he was, and continues to be David, and nothing less.