Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rising to the Occasion of graduation.....

Wow, what a weekend starting June 3.  Worked till 11:00 a.m. on Friday and had a crowd by 3:30 p.m. gathering to celebrate the youngest son's graduation from high school.  Everyone a flitter and a flutter trying to get ready, see everyone, hug and get in the right photo.  So excited was the youngest of the family to finish, that he almost forgot to go to the stadium for pre-ceremony assembly!

He rushed from the house in white sports socks and black shoes, a polo shirt (school colors), but at least he had the Cap and Gown.  Whew!  Then, trying to get everone out the door in time for the ceremony was a struggle.  Much more fun to stand around and eat and talk in the air condition when you know that it is a 102 degrees outside with humidity to match.  But upward and onward we drove to the  civic center for the last high school graduation of our little nuclear family.  The last assembly, commencement speech, class president memory tour, and the rocking Florida High School orchestra that I will hear for a very long time.  It is fabulous to see the teachers, the enthusiam, the dedication, year after year.  It has to be a profession of love, for who else could go to high school graduation every single year!?!

We arrive at the stadium with five senior citizens all over 70, who do not like climbing bleachers.  There is the hearing problem as in too loud and deafening at the same time.  There is the height problem, the too far to walk problem and the too far away problem.  I assure them all, that the critical thing is their presence.  The fact that they are there, standing to applaud the newest graduate is all that is expected. And it is wonderful.  They struggle though the inconveniences of places planned for young noisy crowds, to celebrate the members of the young noisy crowd.  And though they cannot wait to leave the stadium, they stay till the end, and applaud with enthusiasm.  They truly rise to the occasion of the event.

My son, young and eager to be finished, is celebrating the change of the tassel from right to left.  He is running around with the other now non-students, the soon to be soldiers and the one that got into med school early.  He is ecstatic about his future, going to the community college (this one doesn't want to leave home) and then to FSU.  He is my quiet one and probably the most reliable.

Soon after, my father and daughter and I left the house to jump on a plane to Indiana.  My sister's oldest graduated Sunday.  We flew and drove all day Saturday; the small town of Benton is not near an airport. They do have incredible wind farms. The vast fields of corn and soy were beautiful and reminded me I have no idea how to plow so well, such straight and perfect looking lines.  Indiana, where basketball is a way of life like farming.  Where boys in jeans with boots really work on a farm and drive tractors and trucks before they get licenses.  Where swimming pools are in-doors and buildings have sharp pitched roofs to deflect the snow.

We arrived in time to go to Lowes and buy the gifts every girl needs: a drill, a hammer, tape measure, picture hanging stuff, and of course a bunch of screwdrivers.  We loaded the tools into a trashcan and wrapped it with a new welcome mat.  It was quite different than the prettily wrapped packages of cooking wares and bed spreads.

The event was at the high school gym and the air condition was on full bore, freezing us in the nose bleed section.  The people were excited and anxious about their child approaching the stage, as each set of photographers rushed to the front to snap the action shot of their loved one.

Our beautiful neice, grandaughter and cousin was all smiles as she debuted a graduate, an independent a young woman ready for the experiment of life.  She was as lovely as she could be, all smiles and hope.  She is the promise of the future, and I look at her and my son and think they will rule the show one day soon.  My generation will gracefully or not so gracefully,  choose to move over and let the young cell phone, laptop, android, ipad, 4g generation have the reins.  And I wish them the best, and know that they will do fine and lead the next set of graduates to the platforms that mark our lives.

And I already am planning for my trips up the bleachers, to attend the ceremonies that I can't hear, can't really see, but will joyously celebrate, as others have theirs.  Good luck class of 2011.