Monday, June 4, 2012

Caps and Gowns-- Endings and Beginnings



Friday found me in a large auditorium.  Purple seats with no leg room or padding.  The Handy Man was at my side, my daughters and parents down the row. This is the day we'd waited for.  This was the moment that spurred on our flurry of make-up days and long nights of study. And, yet, it seemed sad, to have it all end.  How could the time have gone so quickly?  I watched as Jacob made  his way into the hall and found his seat in a sea of silver caps and gowns. He didn't look around, there was no triumphant fist-pump as he entered.

Suddenly, I saw my child in a different light.  No longer was he the loud and boisterous boy whose laughter carries through the floors and walls of our home.  He wasn't the confident Scout, who leads songs and skits without abandon.  Here, he was 'school-Jacob', shy and unsure.  In a crowd of over 500, he has a  handful of friends.  The images he's painted for me- lonely school lunchtimes and sitting alone- came crashing in.  I cringed at the thought of all those days of loneliness as he watched his peers dance along in their social waltz.

The speakers each took their turn.  They wore their academic overachievements as chords and ribbons around their necks.  Their names were shouted as they stood at the podium.  Their confident smiles said more than their carefully planned words.

Then, they walked.  One by one, their names were called.  At least in this he would be equal, I thought.  But, no.  As the jocks and the leaders and the musicians were announced, applause and shouts and airhorns proclaimed their superiority.  As Jacob approached, he smiled weakly for the photographer then handed his name card to the announcer.  He spoke, Jake walked, and our tiny cheering section clapped and yelled.  I prayed that he heard us.

And, then it was over.  Thirteen years of daily struggle over in one fell swoop.  And, I was grateful.  High school is hard.  It is a social tar pit, sucking in children and pulling them down.  Peers can be kind or unspeakably mean.  You either fit in, or are the odd puzzle piece, constantly trying to find your place.  Jacob never found it in those gray halls.

But, now, he moves on.  Today we will drive him up my favorite canyon.  I will roll down the windows and relish the cool mountain breeze that snakes through the green forest.  We will drop him off at camp where he will spend his summer teaching scouts to shoot guns and arrows in true cowboy style.  He will share stories of faith and loyalty, building up these young men, teaching them that no matter what the world tells them, they each have a place.  That just like him, they belong to a brotherhood.


Graduation is a good thing. It is the end, but also a glorious beginning.  Here's to beginnings.
And, here's to having two done.
Just 5 more to go. (Crap! I need a nap.)


This post was written for the GBE 2: Blog On prompt "High School".



30 comments:

  1. This is so sweet and so real and so well written. Our culture places way too much emphasis on popularity that is based on such ephemeral, shallow things. I am glad that your silly, smart, boisterous boy is out of the hothouse of high school. Now's his time to shine.

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    1. Thank you. I really feel that he will shine.

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  2. Crap is right! Whew 5 to go. Very nicely done. Graduation is always a big crossroad and I wish him well. ♥

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  3. Fitting in is such a big deal in high school. Well it must be a relief to have graduated out of it for your son!

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  4. Wow, good post! Made me a bit sad but then happy. I think it's so great that he's loving scouts...wish my sons could have that same love.

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    1. Can you believe our 'little' boys are so grown up?
      A boy's love for scouting, I believe, has everything to do with having consistent, enthusiastic scout leaders. We were very blessed to have those.

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  5. Congratulations! Great post and I wish your son all the best in whatever path he decides to follow. Sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders and will make the right decisions.

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  6. Wonderful post. Wishing your son the best. I'm glad he's found his place.

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  7. so touching--good luck to your son!!

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  8. Thanks for sharing..Congrats on his graduation and here's to glorious beginnings!

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  9. I remember how hard high school was for me and also for my children. I hope Jake will realize what a great guy he is and the talents he has to offer. Sorry I missed his party--we had friends from Arizona come to town and we were with them.

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    1. Well, seeing how well your kids have turned out gives me great hope! (We missed you, but I understand about the party.)

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  10. It's more painful to watch your kids have a hard time than it is to have a hard time yourself, isn't it? Best of luck to your son - as I always told my kids "you don't want to peak in high school." There's great stuff ahead.

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    1. SO much harder to watch them struggle! And I like what you told your kids, I'll have to pass that along to mine.

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  11. How proud you must be of him!! So glad he survived high school. Kids can be so mean. Considering it is such a small fraction of a person's life it is amazing me how scarred a person becomes because of it.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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    1. I know, why does it have such a lasting impact? There's so much more to life afterward.

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  12. Please. You must never leave me. I am not ready for all this! Guide me through because you're obviously doing something right! Congrats to your beautiful boy.

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    1. Oh, you're not getting rid of me!
      The good thing is that it doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen.
      Thanks for saying I'm doing something right, it doesn't often feel that way.

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  13. It is good that he clearly had such a firm foundation of acceptance at home and in his other communities--it doesn't take away the pain of the "not-belonging" but it surely must make it easier to bear.

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    1. His Scouting circle was a huge comfort to me. His goal is to someday work for the Boy Scouts and I hope he achieves it.

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  14. This makes me so glad that High School over here was designed to let us odd puzzle pieces melt into the background. No graduation, no prom, no need to be in the social spot light. I am glad Jacob can start on the rest of his life, this is where it starts to count!!

    All I can hope for now is that my kids survive it!!

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    1. I think that's genius. Being a teenager is hard enough.

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  15. My son had a terrible time through secondary school. He's big, awkward, and has a mane of shaggy, curly hair which meant the bullies alternated between calling him Hagrid or Hurly. He loathed every second of every day and I couldn't be more proud of him for sticking with it, never giving in, having near perfect attendance despite the hatred, the name calling, and the loneliness and walking away with a fine set of qualifications. I also cannot express how relieved I was when he walked in the front door for the last time, never having to go back to that hole again. I don't cry often over my kids, but I did that day, in sheer relief. Kudos to your boy for also making it out, and to you for supporting him with all your heart.

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  16. Congratulations to Jacob! High school is such a difficult time for so many kids. Those years of self-discovery can be difficult enough, but for those who don't fit the mold, the experience is so much harder. It sounds like Jacob has a clear sense of who he is and what really matters, though, and that will carry him far. I kind of think that the square pegs are the most interesting people--they are the ones who give life color and flavor!

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  17. Once out of high school, life can become a little less stressful due to peer pressure. There are new challenges, haha! Jacob sounds like a wonderful young man.

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  18. Boy, can I relate to this blog! I just graduated my third last Sunday and have three more to go!

    You must be very proud of your son!

    Yes, it is just the beginning of the rest of their lives...

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  19. If only we could get our teens to understand what a small moment in time these very difficult years are. I try to teach my kids that "friendships" are not collectables to be numbered. Real friendships are a treasure, even if they're few.
    Congratulations on your graduate, and congratulations in his knowing what he loves to do and for doing it!
    I've been catching up on your blog today. I had a moment to read!! Yay!! Your writing is great. I loved your first person glimpse of your story. I always look forward to reading your blog even when I've had to step away for a while because life gets so busy!

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