Graduation. I’ve attended many public school culmination ceremonies, most of them with the sun beating down on me. But today I went to a private school graduation. My first.
A tad different from public school. People there use the word tad.
Despite the up hill mile hike in two-and-a-half inch heel boots, which incidentally is a big thing for this New Balance wearing chick, despite pushing a green Chicco stroller with the baby sleeping and my son hanging on the side of it, and despite sweating like a chick in a workout video, today’s ceremony was good.
I looked nothing like I did when I left the house, and everyone else looked like they stepped out of an air-conditioned make-up salon in Armani and Chanel, accompanied by Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton accessories. And there I was sporting the best that Target had to offer with a Columbia Sportswear backpack. But it was my presence that counted. Kids, juice boxes, Hot Wheels and all the Guatemalaness I had to offer.
My uncle’s daughter, my cousin, finally did it. She strolled on stage in her blue cap and gown. Heels, wearing heels. I don’t even where heels. But there she was … taller than me. She is an adult now.
I remember the baby shower we had for her parents. I remember rushing to the hospital the day she was born. I remember rushing to the hospital when she broke her arm falling off the monkey bars. I remember playing Loteria with her. I remember babysitting and her asking me why I didn’t have any Barbies. I remember taking her to the park and teaching her how to play volleyball and softball. I remember my uncle asking me to keep an eye on her before he passed away.
She was all grown up and I was happy to be there.
What amazed me was that this morning’s ceremony only lasted two-and-a-half hours. Most public school ceremonies average about four hours. Private school ceremonies rock! And they had complimentary, coffee, tea, lemonade, iced-tea, bagels and cream cheese, and fruit. Fruit — the kind that made me three-year old son sit still for about half an hour as he thoroughly enjoyed the grapes and strawberries.
Dude. When you’re a parent and your kid has only got three toys left in the keep-you-entertained-and-quiet-while-your-cousin-graduates bag of toys you start to worry. Thank God for private school graduations and their fruit.
While my kids were enjoying the non-graduating activities, I was enjoying the ceremony. And in truth, I thought of my own high school graduation ages ago. While hearing her people give their speeches, I actually remembered part our valedictorian’s speech. And for a nerd going to MIT, he was pretty funny. Well, I was a nerd too, except I played sports.
For those of you who remember Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson’s basketball movie back in the day, it was referenced in our valedictorian’s speech. Apparently he was a believer in dreams and left us with a simple message that high schoolers ready to go to grad night could hold onto — at least for the night … “And remember White Man Can Jump!”
We cheered. We thought those words were awesome. Our parents clapped because the speech was over.
I would’ve mentioned that to my cousin, but the reference would have been lost on her. I think I would’ve had to mention something from Glee. I think that’s what kids watch these days. They’re not into Law and Order SVU.
But my Hallmark card and some words I remembered her father saying seemed to do the trick.
Graduations. I highly recommend the private school ceremony. Just remember to wear your New Balance, not high heels or crazy tall boots, with some Chanel. And get there earlier — earlier– so you can find better parking and avoid trekking a mile up hill, especially if you have a clunky stroller and two kids. Private school people arrive early, not on time.