Aren’t graduations nice? That is how I describe them. Nice. A little boring, but pleasant. That’s my definition of nice. Finding a boring beaded leather purse at a garage sale is nice, because it’s only a dollar so you reason with yourself it will be the next hot trend. (It won’t.) Visiting relatives you have nothing in common with is gracious, but after an hour of staring at each other you say, “Well, that was nice.” Then it’s time to fake a bad burrito and leave. Flowers are nice. They don’t tap dance, but overall they’re still pleasant.
All that to say ... we went to watch my husband’s little brother graduate. And it was nice.
A few years after graduating, when you go back to re-visit your old high school, everything seems a lot more nostalgic. But I think after 10 years the nostalgia has gone away from me. I’m like, why do the hallways smell like beef and cheese? Oh yeah, that is where the middle school lockers are. Is that girl is a senior? I almost pinched her cheeks and asked her if she was lost. I hope I am looking trendy. Ponchos are still in, right? Seriously though. My only hint at nostalgia was when my 5-year-old daughter had to use the restroom and while passing a hallway I told her, “See that hall? That’s where mommy and daddy first made out. Heh, heh, heh.” She didn’t really seem to really hear what I said or understand what it meant, but I still felt smug. Win.
As we sat in the bleachers with family and friends, it made me think a little about sardines being all packed in a can. We’re all gray, slimey, and smothered in mustard. Not really. However, you do end up sitting pretty close to strangers and it’s definitely a great way to meet people. If you’re a real creeper like me, you can tell them what perfume you think they are wearing (do this with your eyes closed while inhaling loudly). Or try to be sneaky and hold their hand. Go for the gold and give it a squeeze.
Or you can also just be normal and watch the parade of graduates walking down the aisle. I don’t like to peg people with labels. Just kidding, yes I do. When I saw the geeky kids I so badly wanted to tell them how successful they will be and to have mercy on the little people and try not to stomp on them with their CEO titles. Use your intelligence for good, not evil!
I wanted to tell the confident girls to keep it up and don’t feel less about yourself if the freshman 15 (when you gain 15 pounds right out of high school) hit. There is more to life than appearances.
I felt bad for the unassuming, sheltered kids that they might not realize they have to work for money. Jobs bring in money, folks. Horrifying, but true. Because seriously, the reality of leaving the nest isn’t always easy. It feels a lot like when you first have kids. Unsure, but confident. Nervous, but excited. Ultimately, you have no idea what lies ahead. I wanted to hug them and whisper in their ear, “Hope.”
As each future young adult walked by, you could feel the hopeful crowd believing for their ambitions, goals, and future. I appreciated their accomplishments as if they were my own kids — although my 1 ½-year-old son just ran in, smiled, spit apple juice down his belly, squatted and did something foul, laughed, and ran out of the room. So. I guess it’s never too early to start praying for his education.
As different students performed and different people spoke, I was getting bored and tried people-watching, but it was a tame crowd. No peacock feathers or orange sequins to be found. Lame. I almost clapped and hooted when they started the slideshow. There’s nothing boring about ugly babies. Most people prefer seeing cute or chubby kids, but personally I just get a kick out of guessing if it’s a girl or boy. To myself of course. No one is going to point at the screen and yell, “Boy!”
When it was all over we hugged the kids we knew and congratulated them. It’s so important to encourage our youth. They are the future shareholders, chefs, mayors, and law enforcement. I guess that means money, food, community, and safety. Sounds like a great place to me (Peninsula pride, represent)!
In any situation, support young adults in your area. Life gets better, then worse, then who knows. It’s constant. So pray for them, have faith in them, and hope they can keep a sense of humor about life’s journey.
Congratulations graduates! Enjoy the summer!
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.