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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Another Graduation Another Difficult Day to Understand

Yesterday our youngest son graduated from high school. He has become a fine, strapping young man. I was not sure how to feel about this minute in time, it was one step in a journey. he still has a long way to go,  though, he has come so far. As is so often the case when confronted by feelings of emotional ambiguity I ignored them and concentrated on the mundane.

It was a very long ceremony, there were around 300 students in the class. It takes a long time to hand out that many diplomas. Plus the speeches, and the songs, and the pledge of allegiance, the tribute to the armed services and first responders all add minutes.

Then they start handing out the diplomas. At this school the student can pick any teacher they like to hand them their diploma. And it goes alphabetically, by teacher and then by student. So, you spend time listening to names. When Smith is presenting a diploma to Wasserman you are in the home stretch.

Until then you spend a lot of time watching the people, and noticing things. Like the way people ignore the ceremony, and the things they do to distract themselves. Like this guy, who was playing a video game. He did so well, apparently, that he posted the score to his Facebook wall. Speaking as a spectator it was very exciting to be part of such a record breaking moment.

There was the guy who got there early and and saved a block of seats (a practice that is not allowed, but the ban is never enforced) and guarded them with a patriarchal zeal. Unfortunately his wayward family was mostly absent. He was so distraught he walked out of the arena while the school principle was trying to give the closing remarks.

It was a day of celebration, some celebrated with a vigor that was almost deafening, some more demur. I was among the latter, but my son has moved on to a new chapter in his life and we are very proud of him. It is a new chapter in our life, too, and we are unsure what to do next. Last night we had dinner at a restaurant by ourselves. It was nice, if a little odd, those are the things that carry people through life. Pride and sorrow, joy, and misgiving, hope and fear, and somehow we manage to balance the turmoil and strife with happiness and promise. As the song said, "every silver lining has a touch of gray."