That’s What She Said: Graduation is about celebrating parents and guardians, too
- Dawn Dumont | September 05, 2019
It’s the season for celebrating grads – but really for celebrating moms and dads and kokums and mushums and aunts and uncles for twelve or more years of dragging reluctant little people out of bed who are pleading: “I want to stay hoooommmmmmeee.” Then in my case, my parents would say something like: “Do you want to be stupid and do nothing with your life?” “Uhhh…maybe, what does it pay?”
Of course, as it turns out, you can be stupid and be president of the United States so I’m not sure how you get kids up these days.
My mom was also a fan of pounding on bedroom doors yelling “get up, get up!” I’m sure that there are tornadoes that made less of a ruckus. The sound was so ugly that I actually developed a lifelong habit of waking up before the mom-alarm (alarming-mom?) to avoid that sound. Well played mom, well played.
My high school graduation was a huge moment in my life. I remember having stress nightmares for months beforehand, because that is how my mind processes happy events. My parents did their best to prepare me for graduation, offering up loads of advice which I promptly forgot. Something about “do the right thing?” No, wait that was a Spike Lee movie.
My parents also helped out by spending cash which I do remember. My grad gown was a pricey little number in turquoise which nicely set off the rash of stress chest pimples that I got two days before grad – another way that my body likes to celebrate the important times in my life. My mom, who believes that make up is for drag queens and that brushing your hair is vain, reluctantly shelled out some cash for hair and makeup at a local beauty salon. Unfortunately for me, the stylist specialized in taking normal hair and spraying it into an unmoveable helmet. I could have fallen off a motorcycle at 80 miles an hour and been just fine with that hairdo. Also, I’m not sure make up is supposed to be applied in multiple layers like an ice cream cake. It took me three days to wash it off my face.
Grad parties aren’t really the style anymore as people realize that drinking plus teenagers is a dumb idea. But back then, we still had them. We were escorted out to one of my classmate’s barns where we drank under the watchful eyes of moms and dads who couldn’t resist the urge to make terrible jokes like, “What did the grape do when he got stepped on? He let out a little wine.” Or, “how’s that first beer tasting? Now you know why golfing is so much fun.” I don’t know about first beer, per se. But I was enjoying attending my first party that didn’t take place in my cousin’s basement, with people – who weren’t my cousins.
I don’t recall the grad ceremony itself (except being bitter about not being valedictorian), but I do remember that the gym was full of people who had attended to watch, including my parents and siblings. The ceremony marked the transition from one state to another, and connected my classmates and me to those pictures of graduation classes that hung on the walls of the corridors that we walked each day.
Without the graduation ceremony, I don’t think I would have been able to grasp the end of my school years or what was ahead of me. I knew leaving high school and moving out was important – I had the nightmares and the stress pimples to prove it – but I needed that ceremony to show me that I wasn’t in it alone. We need more of these ceremonies in our lives to mark these occasions and I am glad that our families and nations are bringing them back. They are a reminder that we have the strength to get ourselves out of bed in the morning and that if we don’t, then someone will give us a much needed kick in the butt.