Why It Only Took 24 Seconds For My Daughter To Make Me Cry

I might as well go ahead and tell you.



If I don’t, surely, you’ll hear about it from my daughter.

Same daughter who is about to become a senior in high school.

Same daughter I thoroughly embarrassed this week.

It all started with an invitation I never saw coming.

“My senior class pictures are Tuesday and I think you should come with me,” she casually threw out a few days before.

Apparently, this is quite the deal at her high school.

Includes multiple outfit changes.

“One of the things is putting on cap and gown,” she warned. “You’re totally going to cry. I know it.”

Who, me?

Okay, so I have a bit of reputation in this family for being a crier.

And once again, I did not disappoint.

24 seconds.

Exactly how long it took me to lose it.

The thing is, it wasn’t even the cap and gown.

Rather, that silly black drape-y thing the girls wear for the yearbook photo.

As we had discussed, Daughter chose to wear her pearls.

Not just any pearls.

Pearls that belonged to her first mom.

The one who passed away when she was 8.

My daughter's first mom. Our daughter will wear her pearls in her senior class photo and on graduation day.

My daughter with her first mom, Kerri. Amazing how much she looks like her more and more every day.

So, there we are, Daughter and I in this echo-y girls bathroom of her high school.

She’s got the drapey thing on, sliding off her right shoulder, held on only with a clothes pin.

She picks her hair up so I can put on the pearls.

To adjust the strand to just the right length.

Well, it was a moment.

Having the honor of helping my daughter take her senior class photos.

Holding the pearls of a woman I will never meet.

Who I share the most significant journey of my life.


For a moment, that big moment, we were all connected.

The beautiful daughter.

Her two moms.

The strand of pearls.

So yeah, I lost it.

Right there in the girls’ bathroom.

24 seconds.

That’s all it took.

Not an ugly sob cry.

More like those big bucket tears that just seem to leap spontaneously out of the corner of your eyes.

Couldn’t hold’em back if you tried.

Have you had that kind of moment, Dear Reader?

Daughter hasn’t.

She was mortified.

“Already?” she shot me a look.

Same question I wanted to ask.


We’re already here?

24 seconds.

That’s about as long as this motherhood ride seems to last.

I know that’s true for most parents.

It’s even shorter when you’re a mom like me.

A mom with an asterisk.

Motherhood with an asterisk.

“But wait, my turn didn’t start until you were 11,” I want to protest, knowing how greedy my request sounds.

My turn will soon exceed her first mom’s.

As for that cap and gown.

I’m proud to share.

I held it together.

The tassle dangling in front of her nose,

Her petite arms poking out of the gown.

Thank goodness for a chance to exhale.

And count.

10 months.

Real cap and gown isn’t happening until then.

Got you for 10 more months, Kid.

I’m going to savor every moment.

For both your moms.

And buy a ton of those photos.

Thank goodness the tear splashes won’t show.

(((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)

And if you like my column about this motherhood thing, you might like my book–

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover



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Why It Only Took 24 Seconds For My Daughter To Make Me Cry

by DarynKagan time to read: 3 min
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