Thursday, June 4, 2009

commencement

tasty Somewhere in my parents' basement, there are photos of my high school graduation, rows and rows of high school students wearing caps and gowns in an unusual shade of purple unflattering to just about everyone.

But there were no caps or gowns yesterday at Gray's graduation, just girls in white dresses and boys in dark suits. We sat near the back, paging through programs, listening to speakers intone the traditional, comforting platitudes: your possibilities are endless, they said, commencement is not only an end, but also a beginning.

Still, mostly, it felt like an end. When Gray's name was called, he walked to the middle of the stage, shook hands with the headmaster and tucked his diploma under his arm. Then he went over to the side to stand with six girls and five other boys, the a cappella group, who've been singing together since middle school.

While the other new graduates filed out towards the back of the auditorium, the chorus went through all the songs they'd practicing for so long -- an Scottish folk melody, the school song, an ecumenical hymn. And, as their voices intertwined, sweet and true, as hard as I tried, I couldn't tell which one belonged to my son.

26 comments:

Ruby said...

Sounds wonderful. Congratulations!

Magpie said...

Happy congratulations!

Tash said...

he is the type to call, so you can hear his voice in isolation now and again, isn't he?

Many congratulations, Gray. And you too, parents. Well done.

(Looks like my hs grad cake: white cake w/white/blue frosting.)

slouchy said...

congratulations to him. and you!

Anonymous said...

You should tell him this! I've sung with choruses my whole life and whenever anyone claims to have been able to heard my voice I've always taken it as a grievous insult ... that's just not possible if you're doing it right! Congratulations to you all.

-- J

thordora said...

How fantastic it must be, to have one at the end of his childhood journey, and the other just beginning.

I'd be sobbing like a baby myself. Viv is done kindergarten in 2 weeks, and already I'm sniffly and sad-she's so much the child I can't even pretend, and 6 years have vanished in front of me.

You are such a proud mama, and it shows. :)

Amelie said...

Congratulations, Gray!
I'm thinking of my own high school graduation and trying to remember if there was cake... (I don't think so)

niobe said...

@J: Thanks so much for saying that. I was assuming that (aside from the metaphorical aspects) that my inability to pick out his voice was just another demonstration of my sad lack of musical aptitude.

Eva said...

Aw, congrats. :)

Sue said...

Congratulations on this milestone - how proud you and your family must be!

Kristin said...

Congratulations Gray!

Cara said...

Many Congrats to all of you! Commencing sure does, be definition, mean a new beginning!

Any ideas or decisions about the gap yet?

niobe said...

Cara: We're still looking into various things for the gap year. I have lots of ideas (mostly thanks to all of the comments I got), but Gray just isn't sure yet what he wants to do. Sigh.

dj said...

Congratulations! Gaudeamus igitur, juvenes dum sumus!
What ajoyous ripening of the heart!...

leanne said...

Congrats! And best wishes to Gray.

Deshaine said...

Congrats on going from one milestone to the next: from HS to college, and from infancy to toddlerhood.

On a slightly related, yet unrelated topic... I would love to talk with you about private schools as we are quickly approaching a deadline to applying at local private schools.

May I email you? Or if you wish, email me: deshaine@deshaine.com.

Again, congrats on your eldest's graduation.

Which Box said...

I meant to ask on the gap post- why does he want a gap? I think that's the key to suggesting what to do.

Of course traveling in Europe would be fabulous, but I certainly don't know if it's him. I worked summers in college as a park ranger, and still consider it the best job I've ever held. They do a good job of training rangers, the locations are amazing if you're into nature, and you meet a lot of people, and the pay (for a teenager) is decent. But, if you're not into the natural world, it's not a good suggestion. Same with the other ideas - if he doesn't want to teach ENglish in Japan, or trek through Europe, or work with poor kids in Appalachia, those ideas aren't good fits for him.

I so hope you tell us what he/you all decide.

niobe said...

@Deshaine: I sent you an email and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Aurelia said...

Congratulations on his graduation! And yes, it must be amazing to have one child done and another at the beginning. I'm sort of there myself...hehe.

Funny though, of course he has no idea what he wants to do! Just don't let him sit on his butt. If he can't decide on anything, force him to go volunteer somewhere everyday or go for a walk or whatever.

I have nightmares of my kid wanting to have a gap year at age 18 and sitting in the basement playing Wii 12 hours a day then going out with friends at night to get drunk.... (I know your son is responsible and wouldn't do this, just projecting, never mend me!)

Amanda said...

You always have such a lovely perspective. Congratulations to all of you at this milestone!

Aunt Becky said...

Dude, I'm crying. I *never* cry. What the hell is going on?

painted maypole said...

well, that's the way a cappella is supposed to be, you know. ;)

Monica H said...

Many congratulations to you and Gray!

Artblog said...

Awwww :) just the sort of thing I'm looking forward to when my kids are all grown up :)

xxx

Bluebird said...

Aw, so many congrats to you all. Beautiful post for a beautiful and bittersweet occasion.

LawMommy said...

Congratulations!

And if you truly couldn't distinguish his voice, it's just the mark of his (and his fellow singers) talent - you aren't supposed to be able to pick out one voice, they are supposed to be as one instrument. :-)