Graduation anticipation

Today I want to talk some more about graduation. Eons ago, when I graduated from high school, we had to sit a couple of hours in a warm stinky gym. The mothers cried while the teens rejoiced in their new found freedom. We listened to someone talk for what seemed like hours in a monotone voice (of course!) saying something about this being the first day of the rest of our lives…blah, blah, blah… Now let’s get out of this school and on with our lives. We knew it all already. Why do we need someone telling us what to do? Graduation lasted for a few hours for one day. You’d think that some things, like graduation ceremonies, never change. Right? Nope.

For the last several weeks now we have been celebrating graduation with the seniors. It started out with the senior tea, which was really a mother-daughter banquet for the senior girls. No, we didn’t even drink a lick of tea. We did watch the jazz choir perform. Then between that and all of the other pre-graduation events, we had a slew of the last of everything. The last choir concert where we said good bye to the seniors. Last, last, last, last, last..

Then there was the senior scholarship banquet. Thankfully, Angel applied for many scholarships and received a few since the college she selected is far from cheap. Then last night there was the senior banquet for the parents and their graduate. We had a meal followed by the class picks. Angel was picked as the most musical in her class. Then we watched a slide presentation of pictures from over the senior year. The slide presentation went very fast before we could even focus on the images we were seeing. It went almost as fast as the senior year. Then they had baby pictures followed by senior pictures. ***Insert tears here*** 

What happened next floored me. They filmed showing the graduates items that they had to identify such as a fax machine, a pager, a camera with a flash bulb tower, and a floppy disc. The seniors could not identify the items. Really, where did the time go?? Then they had teachers close to my age answer questions. They asked, “What is a bae?” Apparently, it is not a large body of water. What is a tinder? Apparently not kindling to start a fire. I leaned over and asked Angel what a tinder was again. She said it was a hook up site. Hhmmm, a hook up to kindle a fire?  Certainly not. I can’t even imagine online dating. I have never felt so old!

The events over the past several week have been confusing. Sometimes we had to dress up, sometimes it was casual, and sometimes they had to wear their caps and gowns. I never could figure out what to wear. This morning was the award ceremony. Apparently this event required a cap and gown but Angel not know that. She drove 20 minutes to school and realized that she needed it. She called home upset saying that she wouldn’t be able to graduate. Angel started driving back home but was almost out of gas with no money. Paul ended up running her cap and gown to the school early since I didn’t even take a shower yet or get my dress clothes on. Yikes! It all worked out in the end.

On the way to the award ceremony, I had the radio on. I heard the song Rumpshaker that was popular when I was Angel’s age. Tears threatened to erupt from my eyes once more. Over the stupid song Rumpshaker! Geez. I was thinking about how old I was feeling. Hearing an old song made me think of the time that I thought I knew everything. I realize now that I am old and still don’t know anything. My eyes started watering, but I couldn’t have raccoon eyes before I even got to the school. Get a grip!

The awards ceremony lasted several hours. I sat next to the valedictorian’s mother. The valedictorian’s parents are both doctors. She was picked as the most likely to succeed. She earned 75% of the awards. She has a brilliant I’m going to find the cure for cancer mind. Angel won a few awards too. She received the top music student award. She has an incredible record for music performance including earning 3 exemplary awards at state. You can only earn that award for solos that have a perfect score. Angel earned 3 awards, a new record for the school. The valedictorian’s mother leaned over and congratulated me on my daughter’s success. I was shocked at her kindness since her daughter received more awards than she could carry. 

Now after having half my calendar booked this month with pre-graduation events, the big event is this weekend. I am sure that a few parents will be crying in relief that it is finally over. Did I just say that?? Not to mention the kids having finals this week and having countless graduation practices. Tomorrow is graduation cap and gown practice and pictures. Then a summer of endless graduation parties. I still have a few invites to send out, pictures to find, and a party to plan. Okay, maybe graduation does not end after graduation…

Today my neighbors brought their newborn baby home from the hospital. It seems like yesterday that I was doing the same.

Confirmed, part 3

Even though my son’s confirmation went great, there was still something missing. To start out at the very beginning of my time, I was raised as a Lutheran. After many years of seeking and trying many different denominations, I came back full circle to being a Lutheran. Will I always be a Lutheran? Who knows. I am very open to other possibilities. Let’s put it this way, I agree and disagree with just about every denomination out there.

Our previous church to the Lutheran one was rather far away. As the kids were getting older, it became more difficult to be there multiple times a week. Our oldest was getting to the age where she wanted to join youth group on Sunday night which meant almost 2 hours of driving on Sunday. After a series of snowstorms every Sunday for a month and a half, we ended up going to the Lutheran church down the road. We liked it so much that we decided to stay. This involved getting our non infants baptized. At the time we chose family to be the sponsors of our daughters and a friend to be the sponsor of our son. That friend is no longer involved in our life.

My husband has always been a Fred Flintstone kind of guy. He is outgoing and makes friends with quieter types of guys. He typically finds Barney’s that are single and lonely or guys that have gone through hard breakups. He befriends them and gets them obsessed with fishing or as of recently sailing. My son’s godfather Gary was one of those guys. Then Gary found a woman. He brought her over one night for supper and conversation. I feel really bad about the next part, while they were over I fell asleep. Honestly, she was that boring. No sense of humor, nothing. I tolerate stupidity better than boring, or lazy, for that matter. If your life lacks luster, make it shine! I do feel bad though. This woman was perfect for Gary though. They decided to marry and my husband was the best man.

After the wedding, we got together a few times. Gary and Paul still went fishing together. Then Gary’s wife had a miscarriage one day while they were out fishing. I really think that she was upset that her husband wasn’t home. A few months later, she got pregnant again. She did not invite me to her baby shower although she invited other mutual friends. It was all over facebook. Okay, whatever. That December, Gary called us to tell us that he was a father. We wanted to see the baby, but were too busy at the time. My mom was recovering from surgery due to cancer. It was a very scary time. I took off of work to help her out. To make matters harder, our family was involved in a community theater production the first two weekends in December. Then came Christmas, so we never made it out to see the baby. It wasn’t long after that that Gary’s wife unfriended me on facebook. Gary dropped out of our life too. But about once a year, Gary stops by our house out of the blue by himself to visit.

Friends come and go, I don’t harbor any resentment. Although, it is time for Gary’s yearly visit.

Confirmed, part 2

The cake is gone, the festive dishes have been washed and put back in dark cupboard corners. My son’s confirmation went better than expected. He even said during the party that he was getting bored of gaming. He played board games with family and friends. Hallelujah!

I have to share with you the story of my confirmation because it is such a crazy story it seems made up. I got confirmed during a presidential campaign year. I attended a small rural church. The church was large but the congregation was small, probably around 40 regular attendees per week. We shared our pastor with our sister congregation 20 minutes away. After 2 years of sitting through Saturday morning confirmation classes listening to my pastor’s monotone speaking, I got confirmed. I memorized all the creeds and required Bible verses. The night before the big day, the eight of us confirmands had to answer about 300 memorized theological questions in front of our family and friends. By golly, somehow we pulled it off. 

I was the only person getting confirmed in my church, the rest were getting confirmed in the sister church. We found out that a senator running for president was stopping at my church on the campaign route. He was stopping on confirmation Sunday. Finally, it was time for the big day! The parking lot was beyond full. I was escorted to the front row of our church. My mom hired a violinist that was a recent immigrant from Poland. The secret service patted him down and inspected his violin case thoroughly. The church was packed, there wasn’t a single open seat. The offering from that one service probably tided the church over for the next 10 years. 

I remember being terrified while reciting my confirmation verse and giving my explanation of the verse. My voice squeaked like a frightened church mouse. Afterwards, we hosted a huge meal for the senator and he spoke. I had my picture with the senator in all of the local papers. Big things don’t usually happen in small towns. 

Confirmed, part 1 

I am sitting inside watching the rain fall like little tears from heaven. I sit and think. Thinking again. I am waiting. Waiting for the rain to stop. Waiting for a large Saturday morning cup of coffee out in my hot tub. It is my tradition. 

When I think of church, I think of traditions. Rituals always done the same way. But what if it rains? What if things change? I have been to many different denominations. Even non traditional churches have their routines. The same similar structures every week. The way it starts, the way things end. The time it ends always the same. Ritualistic, though intending not to be. 

Tomorrow my son is being confirmed in the church we have chosen. It almost didn’t happen. Remember a couple of weeks back when I still wished my grandpa was here with us? He still is here. I see him reflected every day in my son. My son didn’t want to just go along with the rest of the group. He has so many questions, more than answers. Like his great grandpa, he is so full of piss and vinegar to be agreeable to conform. He felt too imperfect to be a Christian. He is honest and I respect that. 

We ended up having a long conversation with our pastor. It came down to my son having to make a decision. Are you with us or not? My husband talked to my son about leaving the door open for God. Faith is not a perfect all or nothing compartment that my son wanted to put it in. He struggles, don’t we all? He questions, shouldn’t we all? 

He decided to get confirmed. He is leaving the God door open. He made a drawing of Jesus carrying a cross through an open door. He also picked the verse of Revelation 3:20. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 

Whether we choose to believe or not, shouldn’t we always be seeking to answer the questions we have in life. To not be stagnant. To not just go with the flow. Life is meaningless without having meaning in it. 

The rain clouds parted, time for my Saturday morning ritual. Then I will put on my Martha apron, cooking and cleaning for the party tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I will be Mary. Always a work in progress….

My brother’s wedding

I feel like I travelled around the whole world in one week. Technically, I could say that I went from the southern end of our country to the far northern end this week. I am exhausted and feel a cold coming on. 

When I said that I live in rural WI, my brother Mark lives in extreme remote rural WI. An area so remote that sometimes no service appeared on our cell phones, gas stations were at times hard to come by, and the largest of towns consisted of a bar, a church, and 2 houses. A majority of people at the wedding never thought that Mark would marry. He lived as a hermit in this remote area for a long time. But just like the seasons change, sometimes our lives takes us on unexpected paths. 

Yesterday was a perfect day for a wedding. It went without a hitch, figuratively anyway. It was an unseasonably warm day. The leaves were starting to change color. My daughter sang a solo for the wedding. My son was an usher. Mark and Carla did not have any attendants. They just got engaged 4 months ago. Mark took Carla out on the lake, pulled out a ring, and dropped it in the water seemingly accidental. He made it seem like the plan was foiled, then pulled out the real ring. They had a small wedding. Carla bought her wedding dress from Goodwill for $25. It was beautiful. I am glad she is tight with money because Mark sure is. 

The reception was at a saloon. They had a bonfire and their DJ also served as their photographer. I have never seen my brother so happy, or dressed up for that matter. We had a great time and are very happy for them. This morning they drove off in their Jaguar for their honeymoon. I am excited to see what the future holds for them.  

Nautical thoughts

My husband and I had a boat renaming party this past weekend for our sailboat. I have another confession to make. I fell in love with another man. He gazed into my eyes and called me beautiful. His embrace drew me into the intoxicating scent of his cologne like a siren calling to a sailor out at sea. He bestowed upon me a gift of a parchment paper journal for Internet free blogging. I was in love hook, line, and sinker. I called my dad for Father’s Day anyway, all the while feeling the guilt of desiring another dad. My new love presided over the boat renaming ceremony. 

The ceremony itself went without a hitch. When I woke up the morning of the party, I had great trepidation after looking at the forecast. A storm the size of the continent of Africa was coming towards us with a guesstimated arrival time of noon, when the ceremony starts. I consulted Paul, my husband who has the gift of weather parting, and told him we were in need of a miracle because at this time I wasn’t sure that the boat wanted to be renamed. And part the weather did. The ceremony started with a little drizzle, just enough to keep a few of the fair weather sailors home despite the free beer. The party included denaming the boat by pouring champagne into the water by the bow and toasting. My new love told the story of Paul’s and my accidental overnight sail with the mere thought of changing the name of the boat. Good thing I did not tell him about the boat almost starting on fire right after the old name was removed. (The ceremony also required a virgin to urinate off the side of the bow, so we skipped that part). Then we finished the ceremony with renaming the boat, pouring champagne on all sides of the boat, another toast, and a beautiful closing toast by Paul. 

The party was attended by our children, a few close friends, our employees, a few random sailors, and my mom. Paul’s mom called a couple days before the party and said she couldn’t make it because it might rain despite the fact that Paul told her she has windshield wipers. Well, I had better go back to bed or start on my 18 mile run this morning. Another storm the size of Africa is coming and I don’t think I will be as lucky this time.