Carol and I flew out to California for a long weekend for Will’s graduation from college. There was so much to celebrate. That he put himself through the rigors of a tough econ major, that he finished a thesis, that in this economy he managed to get himself a job. That he’s done all of this without a parent by his side making sure homework got done, job applications were filled out, interviews were attended. That must mean he’s an adult, 22 years old, ready to take care of himself.
There were campus barbecues and backyard dinners with his friends and their parents, all of us congratulating ourselves that somehow our children made it to this milestone.
There was the cleaning out of his dorm room—what a mess—and packing up boxes, some to go in storage, some stuff to come home and some to follow him to his job.
We were parents but we managed to refrain from saying parental things, like, “Shouldn’t you throw out that old shirt?” and “Have you made plane reservations yet?” and “How are you going to find an apartment in San Francisco?”
We celebrated. We did just what one commencement speaker, columnist Bob Herbert, urged, “Take it easy.” William had a fine cheering section, 23 family members in all, shouting out in glee when his name was called. He waved to us on his way to accept the diploma.
At the end we gathered for a picnic lunch, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and celebrated the family for no graduate does it all on his own. The way is paved by family and friends who support, applaud and over the years came through with a car on loan (thanks Gioia and Larry!) and a summer job (thanks Mike!).
Only as we were throwing the paper plates away did I see the words on the back of a plaque in the patio: “This is the day the Lord hath made, rejoice and be glad in it!”
Just the right words. Congratulations to the graduates you know and love. Rejoice and be glad in them!
Rick Hamlin is the executive editor at GUIDEPOSTS.