It was this boy's day. He went off on Wednesday for his last day of high school, already looking college-bound. He announced to me the next day that he'd finally convinced his friend, who was giving one of the graduation addresses, to make the theme of her speech "YOLO." I remarked that this was probably the culmination of his academic career and I was only sorry it hadn't happened in time to put that accomplishment on his university applications. As it turned out, he had made a brilliant suggestion - it was a funny address beginning with her turning her back to the audience with her phone held high and saying, "First, let me take a selfie,"
and filled with pop references such as "in the words of nursery rhyme poet Nicki Minaj..."
And rather than focusing on the silly justification of foolishness that YOLO has come to mean, she talked about the challenge of living fearlessly when you embrace the idea that you only live once.
My older son came home for graduation, insisting that we arrive early enough to find a good seat. We were given stern instructions by the principal to refrain from using air horns or cowbells, or from screaming, "hollering" (because this is the South), or otherwise behaving in an undignified way not befitting the gravity of the situation. Which was a little funny given that it was being held in a arena most frequently used for rodeos. But everyone obediently clapped quietly, like golf tournament viewers, for the first nine honors graduates. My older son leaned over to the woman next to him and said, "I'd like to apologize in advance, but I'm going to yell for my brother."
And yell he did, bellowing across the arena through cupped hands. Giggles rippled through the audience and as if granted permission, the tone shifted and people began cheering lustily for their friends and family members as they graduated. Because you know what? High school graduations aren't solemn occasions. They are joyful celebrations of kids being launched into adulthood.
But don't you just know I cried? I swear to you, I had this baby only a few years ago and I don't know how he morphed into a young man so quickly. The boys, their father, stepmother and I all re-convened at my house where I'd made a chocolate chip cake with raspberry sauce and had a bottle of white wine chilling. I let my son pick tonight's menu and we'll celebrate after he and his brother return from their hike. And I'll spend a little time trying to wrap my mind around the idea of having two
sons in college.
You done good, mom. Fine looking sons, you have every reason to be proud. Where's the youngest going to school next fall?ReplyDelete
Cheers to you and yours.
Thank you! He's staying closer to home because they have a good engineering program.Delete
Two in college at the same time is bound to be a strain on the pocket book. I can't remember if you mentioned scholarships or not.ReplyDelete
And good for big brother for breaking the rigid rules. I'd rather skip the horns, but surely it's all right to shout.
He did get scholarships which will help defray the costs quite a bit. Both did, fortunately.Delete
nice...we have our graduation in a week...my oldest graduates elementery school next friday as well...ha. good on your son(s)ReplyDelete
It goes by the the blink of an eye, I'm telling you.Delete
All of you deserve to be very proud. I agree that graduation should not be solemn. The whole audience needs to respect everyone so you can't go too crazy. Shouting out a cheer seems very reasonable to me. He sure is a good amount taller than you. Nice pictures.ReplyDelete
As long as people let each name be heard, I see no harm in cheering. And yes, he's seven inches taller than me. The older one has eight inches on me.Delete
Congratulations to your son! A job well done. And I learned a new term today with YOLO :) I do like the shape of how her speech went.ReplyDelete
I do agree, it is a great achievement to graduate from high school; it should not be done quietly, but loudly with exuberance!
It is amazing how fast they grow up. I told son on the day of his graduation that I would do it all over again, if I could, from kindergarten upwards, the good, the bad, the ugly (and there were a lot of bad and ugly in high school LOL).
I have no worries or concerns that your son won't do well in college; I am sure he will soar!
Clearly you don't have teenagers around!Delete
And I agree - even with the bad it was a great time and I already am missing it!
OMG...this was such a beautifully written post! I could feel your pride and love beaming through every word. And I think it's so touching that your elder son was so proud and excited for his younger brother. What a great picture of the two of them!ReplyDelete
"Giggles rippled through the audience and as if granted permission, the tone shifted and people began cheering lustily for their friends and family members as they graduated. Because you know what? High school graduations aren't solemn occasions. They are joyful celebrations of kids being launched into adulthood."
Oh, what a faaaaabulous moment and I AGREE!
A HUGE congratulations to you son! And to you too!
Super photo of the two of you. Love your red hair!
Thank you! I am indeed proud of them both and feel incredibly blessed. I especially love how close my sons are.Delete
When my older son yelled I was momentarily embarrassed. And then when I realized how he'd singlehandedly changed the atmosphere of that enormous group of people I felt great about it.
The weird thing is my hair doesn't look nearly that red in real life.
Congratulations, proud mama! How quickly life moves in adulthood. Your boys will soon be saying the same thing about their children…ReplyDelete
It scares me how fast it goes and I know with each blink I'll be staring down the next transition.Delete
Congratulations. Both the sons would appear to be made of some amazing stuff!ReplyDelete
Thank you, I count myself lucky.Delete
Of course I can tolerate a proud mama and her son! Love all the pics and graduations are always more interesting with audience participation and pop culture references!ReplyDelete
Wishing him all the best. I hope he has a wonderful summer, with lots of time for Mom!
It sure beat the principal's deadly dull speech!Delete
Thank you, I hope that, too.
I like your "look."ReplyDelete
Your sons seem awesome too.
Thank you, and I think they are pretty awesome!Delete
How wonderful! What an accomplishment for your boys and for you. So many parents wish their children would choose college and move forward. Yours clearly are on a path to success!ReplyDelete
I'm thankful that they both value education.Delete
Nothing wrong with yelling for your brother (but I like the fact he apologised in advance!). Of course it's not a solemn occasion, it's a happy exuberant one.ReplyDelete
He said he didn't want to startle her - because he was loud!Delete
Oh well done to all of you, I know how you feel, both my girls left at the same time and I was devastated. Blink of an eye is right, But you done good, mama! Rest on laurels for a bit :)ReplyDelete
We're enjoying the post-school lull right now!Delete
Congratulations! I love the incorporation of pop culture references into the speech. Those speeches can be so dry--and it really perks people up and makes the event memorable when the person doing the address has fun with it.ReplyDelete
Everyone was laughing during the speech and I heard people talking about it afterwards.
Congrats to your son. As Stephanie said, efforts to make those speeches clever and humorous are appreciated by the audience more than one knows.ReplyDelete
I've sat through many a dismal speech and absolutely agree with that.Delete
No cow bells eh? What's a proud mom to do? Congratulations I think are in order with two sons in college. And soon they will be graduating college and finding jobs and conquering the world.ReplyDelete
Especially when I"m too choked up to yell!Delete
Thank you, and welcome.
Congratulations to your son. Neither of my two oldest children graduated from high school so I still feel a little robbed. I look forward to attending their University graduations.ReplyDelete
It's such a strange feeling having grown up children. They have become people when before they were my children. They're still my children but our lives have diverged, in a good way.
That was definitely a brilliant suggestion. Your older son yelling made me smile and brought tears to my eyes.....how cool was that!!! You have to be so proud of your boys. Congratulations to your son and way to go on the honors......ReplyDelete
Whew! it does go fast!!ReplyDelete
Congratulations to all of you. I am impressed that you and the ex and his wife were able to be together to celebrate the occasion . So many parents are not, and that makes the occasion more challenging.
And yes, this is a celebration when a "child" graduates, so you bet there'll be some hollering. That's the way it's supposed to be.