Up in the rafters of the convention center hallway: a heart-shaped balloon, stymied in its flight to the sky for a few hours. Hello, everyone: METAPHOR! Someone's grasp slackened, the string played through their hands, and off it went. METAPHOR! But for whom? The student? The parent? Both, perhaps. All of us were letting go, but the parents were the ones who stayed earthbound. The children - can I still call them that? - darted around like minnows, while the parents were like stones in the stream.
It was a long ceremony. Three hundred and ninety kids. It began with admonitions in three languages not to go in the aisles or make undue noise, as it might drown out the names of the next student called. Of course people got in the aisles and screamed with such ear-piercing power that the speaker had to wait until the noise abated. The speeches were nice. The choir sang well, although the performance was sullied by the late arrival of a hundred people who carried out substantial conversations about seating, peppered with loud greetings. Decorum was ragged, for reasons I can’t understand. The kids had it. Many grown-ups and family members seemed to think this was a game show.
Ah, but there she is, crossing the stage, shaking hands. All done. The students filed out to the inevitable bleating of Pomp and Circumstance, beaming, and you had to think: so very happy at the very moment that the entire project of their childhood is done, and all the things that bound them, anchored them, sheltered them, and defined their lives is over. It’s good that they’re happy, looking ahead, proud of their accomplishments, ready to live their own lives. But just as Romans who got a triumph had someone whispering remember you are mortal in the general’s ear, there should be . . . oh, I don’t know, a tiny little David Byrne robot singing Life During Wartime. Gonna all be different this time.
We’re having a dinner with extended family on Friday night, and a simple gift. I went to the gift store in the neighborhood to look for something small and inspirational to remind her of us, something that celebrated her adventuresome spirit. (Which I am very proud of, by the way; maybe it was all those trips we took to other places. Also, I hate it, since I wish she would go to the U of M and maybe call every two or three weeks or drop by once a month. But that’s selfishness on my part.) I found a little necklace that had tiny letters on two small metal rectangles about the size of wooden matchsticks.
Buy the Ticket
Take the Ride
It’s Hunter S. Thompson, not exactly a role model, but it’s a double-edged exhortation: it’s about seizing opportunities, and there’s some cold rue in there about consequences, too.
Unspoken in the couplet: what happens before you buy the ticket. You have to choose the ride.
Anyway! Done. As I said, I factored all this in somehow a year ago, and have been processing the various Ends of All the Things on a regular basis so long that this was almost deja vu; ever since last August, I feel as if I’ve been emotionally skeletonized by invisible pirañas on a daily basis. But that’s parenthood and it’s utterly common. You keep it to yourself, because you remember this . . .
. . . and then it’s this . . .
. . . and while one feels like a stranger to the other, you’ve known them both, and who they were every day in between.
And by the way: honor roll for high GPA and National Honor Society, and that was all her doing. We didn’t have to push or prod or nag. She did it all on her own.
Congrats, my beloved Gnat.
From the early Mumps Lawson period. I like the way he goes right to the servants as the possible crooks:
That's supposed to be Lori? Well, she'll change soon enough. Solution here.
Once again, the uncollected music of a great modern composer, who did some chamber pieces for a short-lived radio show.
This suggests he had a request: English chamber-music, chap, can you do that? He could.
The third one shows he couldn't resist adding his own style, though.
Instead of the swank old sounds of Goodwill albums, this year we're going to share bad 1960s pop music. The second- and third-tier tunes.
God, that harpsichord. I didn't know it, but this type of music was considered a genre on its own.
The song would be blessedly shorter if Mom had just said "yes" and closed the door.
Annnnnd that was a week. See you Monday, as the summer truly begins.