So much of life has swept past. It's like body-surfing in rough waters: catching a frothy wave, getting back up to struggle out to the next ride before I'm slammed in the face with a cold, salty smack. Lots of work, but such a grand feeling to be tossed about.
Two important graduations have come and gone. Then there was a third. My youngest child, Sam, graduated from high school. Today at 7:00 am my husband was tempted to wake him up and say "get up, you're late for school!" just for old times sake. He is 18 now, and had gone to the Shims concert in arena district last night. I remember that feeling of 18 and recently released from high school. Oh, the Freedom. the Concerts. the Friends. the Possibilities.
My oldest also graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity just five days before Sam.
First the Masters happened.
Becca, Sam, Olin and I finished up our jobs & school at the end of the day & piled in the SUV and headed for the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Around midnight we stopped at the cleanest of clean 1950's mom & pop motels. It was never updated and perfectly maintained. The vintage surroundings made me feel like I was in the Dick VanDyke Show. The delightful lady owner made us homemade blueberry waffles and fresh coffee and juice in the morning. Then, we went on our way to Princeton. While we were driving the graduate was at her apartment getting ready for her big day. We arrived at the married-student-housing apartment. My last time to visit their sweet little home there.
Graduation was in the Princeton University Chapel. It was really, really cool. Very cool. It was the 200th anniversary of Princeton Seminary, so they had a special worship service with orchestra and choral choir. Sitting among the neo-Gothic surroundings with the stone arches and flags and the people in robes and hoods made me feel like I was in Harry Potter. The president of Princeton Theological Seminary gave his talk in his hooded black robe. He had striking white hair and spoke with his slow, Scottish accent and it felt like I was watching the real Dumbledore address his students. As I was taking in the experience and thinking of Hogwarts, Becca leaned into my ear and whispered, "This reminds me of Harry Potter." I don't mean to make fun of the ceremony in any way, or the special significance of the end of an academic and spiritual journey. It was very spectacular and the analogy just shows how exciting it was.
We celebrated at an Indian restaraunt in the town afterwards and gave Rachael a new watch. The hotel we stayed in had a hot tub and swimming pool, so we all headed over for a night time splash. So much fun.
The next day we went to the Princeton Art Museum and saw some Monets, a Van Gogh,an Alexander Calder, and lots of other things. Then we walked to the Seminary to see a photo on display that Rachael had taken for a photo contest, and she was an award winner! She actually had two photos awarded in the contest. Early evening we attended a talent show where Rachael interns at a Presby USA church. There were lots and lots of delicious home made yum yums. I ate little chocolate cupcakes, brownies, and creamy lemon homemade bon-bons. What a sweet (ha, I made a pun) church. During the show I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There are some very creative, joyous, and wonderfully different people in this world. I loved it. Even 18 year old Sam enjoyed the show. Back at the apartment we had pizza delivered & visited.
Monday, we drove the long way home. 10 hours.
Two days later Kevin and Rachael arrived with CClancy, their dog, to witness Sam's graduation. They were a huge help in making little mortar board cookies, and hanging streamers and getting the cooler full of ice and drinks. Clancy was a big help just by encouraging me with his accepting and loving attitude. Graduation was on Thursday night. I had 13 people for dinner and afterward we rushed to The Ohio State University's arena for the ceremony. We had great seats and it was a lot of fun to watch Sam walk up to get his diploma. Back at home Sam opened gifts, we ate cake, and had a bonfire and grilled some burgers. Around midnight Sam took off for another bonfire in the neighborhood where most of his friends congregated. Olin and Kevin stayed up by the fire until 2:30 am smoking cigars, sipping beers from Pittsburg, and chatting. At 2:30 am I went out and yelled at them (I'm so mean) because Olin had to be at work at 7:30 am. !
Then Saturday morning bright and early we left all our kids at home and drove 7 hours to Nashville. Just in time to watch my two adorable nieces graduate from high school. It was a strange feeling being in the car with just Olin for this trip. Is this what our lives will be like now?! Just the two of us????? ???? After the nieces' graduation we attended to a huge party for niece C. There were HUNDREDS of people there.The following morning we visited with everyone and then took off for home by noon. We didn't stay for the family party for niece N, I'm sorry to say. I wanted to drive the 7 hours back home as fast as possible.
When we came in the door around 7 pm, Kevin and Rachael, Sam, and Becca had the house shut up like a movie theatre and they had the speakers blaring, watching a very intense movie with Tom Cruise. They had grilled out and had snacks and drinks all about, and were sprawled around my tiny family room. It was a happy scene. The following gorgeous summer morning we had breakfast in my hometown on Main Street at a street cafe Diner. A nice little ending to a whirlwind week of graduating and a sunny start to summer.