It happened on a rare perfect day in Wisconsin. The temperature 75 degrees with a light breeze under partly sunny skies. No rain, no muggy humidity.
I’m not sure why we felt so stressed out that morning as my husband and I snapped at each other. Maybe the perfect conditions was a sure sign to be cautious that something might go wrong.
Last minute Alex couldn’t find dress pants that fit and had to borrow a pair of Paul’s. I was worried that he would be late for school one last time.
We sat with family on the bleachers in the gym. I tried to keep an open mind, yet inwardly I judged.
Did the people in front of us manage to have some of the few empty seats because they purposely didn’t shower? I ended up sitting behind them because no one else could stand the smell.
Then there was the mother with the ripped jeans and crop top like she was attending her daughter’s graduation from pole dancing school. I was appalled. I am not big on fashion, but made sure to buy myself a new dress. There are some things that one must simply look respectable for.
There was the child that sat behind us with an incessant whine.
Well at least they were there showing their support which is more than my dad did. He decided not to attend.
I’m not going to lie to you. I was filled with anxiety.
I was worried all week that I would get that knock on my door with a certified letter stating that my son did not meet the requirements to graduate. I imagined myself full of shame as I explained why my son’s name wasn’t called at the graduation ceremony when people came bearing gifts at his graduation party. But I emptied that anxiety just to fill it with more.
I had irrational fear that my son would end up punching someone instead of shaking their hand as he received his diploma. I still thought that maybe he wouldn’t graduate as he received his diploma. There was a part of me that was very unsettled. I felt fear that there could be a school shooting during the graduation. Sadly, I no longer feel safe in large crowds of people.
I saw my son’s friends come in that attended another school. Included in the group was the boy we took into our home that stole from us. I felt uncomfortable.
My brother Luke asked my daughter’s boyfriend Dan if he was having flashbacks of his own graduation there. He said, “Yeah, more like PTSD”.
The graduation ceremony was boring. It was hard to see, the nearby projector didn’t work and the microphone kept cutting out if the speaker didn’t have their mouth right on the microphone.
The guest speaker was a doctor of neurophysics. She showed pictures of herself and spoke of all of her amazing accomplishments in a monotone voice. I thought to myself that I needed to get out of all graduation ceremonies I can in the future.
After the ceremony was done, I felt very happy and giddy. I was ready to go out and pop champagne in the school parking lot. Would that be against the law? Never mind, I didn’t have any champagne. I hugged boy B’s mom. We did it! We convinced our boys that hated school to graduate. I can’t quite explain the feeling. I felt like I almost got hit by a bus, but at the last second got away. That feeling of just escaping disaster. My son was also the happiest I’ve seen him in a long time.
Afterwards, we had family over at our house. It was so nice that we were able to play games outside and sit on the patio with a fire.
All in all, it was a wonderful day. We are happy that our son graduated. I can’t tell you how relieved I am.