Sunday, May 18, 2008


We celebrated. We laughed. We cried. We ate yummy food. We drank a little champagne. We stressed. We slept very little.

My in-laws arrived on Friday. I'm not sure why I still call them my in-laws but I do. When I say it, it seems to infer that I am still married. I was married to their son until his death in 2001. But it seems impersonal to say "my children's grandparents" or "my late husband's parents". I love them and will always feel a part of their family. So I still call them my in-laws. Or Mimi and Poppy.

The kids shared stories of their graduation practice that morning. They were instructed that there would be no dancing or cartwheels across the stage. No flip flops. No beach balls. Girls should wear dresses and boys should wear ties. I was pretty sure that no one was listening.

The faculty wants to make graduation a solemn occasion, full of seriousness, or if you prefer . . . pomp and circumstance. But it is truly a joyful occasion for the students. And a little sad at the same time.

That evening, the students marched in. Flip flops showed beneath their gowns. As they were seated, a beach ball began to be tossed around. It was batted from one side of the students to the other and back. The parents and families cheered. An ROTC color guard retrieved the ball. The parents and families booed. Another beach ball appeared.

The speeches began - 3 students - and they were quite good. The principal spoke. It was a little long. And then the names of 500 students were called, each coming to the stage to receive their diploma. Some danced. No one did cartwheels. Some held their hands up in triumph. Parents and families cheered. Some blew air horns. It was joyful.

Later, the kids met at our house before going to an all night lock in party. They were all a little quiet. I asked if they were okay. They looked shell-shocked. "It feels weird" was all they said.

It was joyful. It was sad. It was over.


Wanda said...

Oh my goodness, I felt like I was sitting with you. Loving it and cheering those graduates...

You told your story so well. Thanks for taking me along.

Ruth D~ said...

The beach ball is my absolute favorite part of the ceremony! The kids are so cute when they think they're getting away with something. And the teachers make a good Gestapo.

Congrats to your graduate. Now what?

Tere said...

Thanks all! Good question Ruth. I would like to know myself. She says she wants to go to a local community college until she decides between interior design and business. We will see.

Ruth D~ said...

That would be a good move.