Hope and graduation

The past week was a bit of a blur and part of me is grateful for that. Too much it seems was going on in the world. I am rather glad I missed most of it. Tuesday was my brother’s high school graduation and while not everything had gone entirely to plan in the days leading up to the big event, things had begun to finally work themselves out.

We made our way into the arena where the ceremony would take place. Though it was only midmorning, the weather was already hot and humid, however, thanks to my grandfather’s attendance (and his handicap placard) we didn’t have to walk far. I scanned the program while we waited. There were over six hundred names in total, double that of my graduating class. We might as well get comfortable.

The orchestra began to play as we rose for the national anthem. Most of us stood in silence, preferring to let the trained voices of the chorus do their work. But not my grandfather. At 101, he belted out the lyrics as proudly as if he was a superfan at a rock concert (something by the way he’d never willingly attend – he’s more of a jazz man). Then it was on to Pomp and Circumstance, as the graduates filed into the building dressed in their black robes and graduation caps.

After what felt like ages, I saw my brother enter. We shouted and waved, but we weren’t quite loud enough to capture his attention. I saw him scan the crowds looking for us, but not matter how much I jumped, waved, or made silly faces, he just kept scanning. Sometimes my lack of height really is a disadvantage.

The crowds sat as the principal took the podium. Due to the number of names that needed to be called, she asked that we keep our applause to a minimum so that all students and their families might have an opportunity to hear their names called.

I saw my brother rise and get into line at the stage. I fiddled with my camera’s zoom readying to make the shot. I zoomed too much and couldn’t find him. I looked away from the viewfinder, but without the zoom, the distance was too far to make out which of the uniformly clad individuals was him. I heard my brother’s name called. What? Is he already crossing the stage? I was stunned. My grandfather cheered. At 101, it is amazing what rules no longer apply. His cheers snapped me out of my stunned silence and I shouted a quick whoop as my brother took his diploma and made his way back to his seat.

graduation ceremony

And like that, my brother is a graduate

As we exited the arena, an announcement requested that we vacate as quickly as possible in order to allow the next series of graduates to enter the building. They wouldn’t be the last either. Graduation ceremonies will run throughout the next several days filled with speeches about hope, pride, and opportunity, even if flavored with a bit of nostalgia regarding what is being left behind.

I couldn’t help wondering what my grandfather must think of speeches about new beginnings at his age. Did the nostalgia now outweigh the hope and promise? His phone rang as we maneuvered out of the parking lot. His wife, seated by my side, smiled as she listened to the conversation. She leaned over to me. “His brother-in-law is 104 you know.” I, wide-eyed, assured her I didn’t. “Oh yes, and one of your grandfather’s old girlfriends, who is 102, is at the same assisted living center.” She laughed. “Your grandfather has been trying to set them up for the past couple of years, but she doesn’t seem to want to return his calls.”

Clearly, hope, pride and opportunity are not limited to only the graduate, so use them well, and use them often.

 

 

 

 

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28 thoughts on “Hope and graduation

  1. What an uplifting post dear. Graduations always stir up so much don’t they?
    Your grandfather sounds just amazing! I picture him laughing often, and understanding. There is a patriotism his generation understands far more than ours. They accept the sacrifices needed for the greater good-whether in war, or more simple things like having a job and not complaining about being employed. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us!💜

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    • I am so very fortunate to still have two living grandpas, both of which certainly seem to have a better sense of what sacrifice truly means and know the value of hard work. I don’t know that I would use the word understanding though as often they don’t pretend to understand why the younger generations act the way we do, and when you consider what they’ve lived through its not difficult to see why that might be, but there is still much to admire about both of them.

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  2. I’m blessed with grandparents on both sides who lived very long lives. My mom’s folks are still alive, and I am so intrigued and thankful for the stories they tell of their younger years. You are so blessed to have a grandfather who is so healthy at 101. I hope that when I get that old that I can still be so feisty.

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    • My other grandpa is still alive as well and in his mid 90s, and I do consider myself very fortunate to have them both in my life. Isn’t it amazing to think that this will become more of the norm.

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      • It really is amazing. I’m not sure how I will be at that age myself (my dad isn’t yet 70 and already has diabetes and I hope not to follow in those footsteps).

        But I am amazed when I see the spunky elderly who are in great health. I ran a few marathons back in my 20s and at one of my them there was an 80 year old woman who finished right ahead of me. I was pretty slow (it took me almost five hours to finish), but still. . . . An eighty year old woman ran 26.2 miles faster than I did. Wow. I would so love to be in that kind of shape forty years from now.

        Liked by 1 person

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