This world is spinning faster...
This year there are a total of five graduations scheduled this month. Last night was the third. My grandson graduated from the eighth grade. There are a lot of reasons that it was a last minute decision for me to attend, but I am glad that I did. For two hours I shut out the clambering in my brain, that non-stop to do list simply had to shut up. For two hours I snuggled my little grand daughter and watched everyone around me.
Normally that kind of chaos, noise and level of activity would have had me climbing out of my skin and stressed out. I don't do well in those situations. It's a special kind of nuts for me to do something like that. Last night... it was okay. My girl had gotten there early and had found great seats in the back of the auditorium. Not the greatest for seeing the kids sitting there, but wonderful for watching them walk in and out and seeing the stage. Also great for keeping me and my little bit from feeling closed in, crowded and overwhelmed.
The graduate and my little bit go to a fairly small school, in an incredibly diverse neighborhood. I am fairly sure the U.N. has nothing on that school. And as a people watcher it was a serious smorgasbord of humanity. It was interesting to see the differences. To search the crowds for the similarities.
There were a few times that I wanted to shake those parents, tell them to stop trying to turn their children into miniature adults. Remind them that it is okay to tell your child "no" occasionally. Some of the outfits on those children that are under the age of 13 were shocking to say the least and would have made the ladies of the strip proud. This changing world needs to slow down, let kids be simply kids for a while longer. Instead I just watched.
There was a sense of pride that circled the room. Some of those children had groups of people there to support them that included every extended family member they have I am fairly sure. Some of them had only one or two.
In an area that sadly has far too many kids decide to not finish school, I couldn't help but wonder if some of those young people were almost finished with their academic careers. Were the cat calls, whistles and cheering that even had the Superintendent pausing the ceremony to say "really?" simply a family trying to encourage that young man to stay focused and stay the course? To chose to have a future? I wondered that a couple of times last night.
There was a young girl that clearly was differently-abled. She was precious waiting her turn to climb those stairs. Her daddy made my eyes well up with tears. She followed one of the children that had elicited cat calls and yelling from his family. As they prepared to call her name, Dad handed his camera off to one of his other children sitting in the back row, and quietly walked to the front. He gently and unobtrusively walked beside the stage reaching up on his tip toes to help her climb the stairs. Stairs were very difficult for her, and yet, you didn't really notice dad, he didn't try to take away her shining moment. He was there, but he wasn't... The pride on her face, her smile could be seen all the way in the back row. During her walk across stage dad had somehow, without being noticed appeared on the other side to help her down the stairs. As soon as she was safely on the gym floor he moved just as quietly back to his seat. What an amazing father, he was able to assist without dimming her light, he supported without overshadowing.
I couldn't help but wonder... which parent had made a larger impact on their child last night. The screaming, hollering one or the quiet one.
Yesterday I had someone tell me that St. Louis is a polarized area. I don't disagree, there are many examples of it all around me. Last night I observed many of those things first hand. When you peeled away the layers and differences, what you uncovered are parents that simply love their children, are proud of their children and in their own way are celebrating that child and their place in this crazy world.
My grandson is quiet, he blended in with the crowd. I know having my daughter there for him was important. They share a special bond. Me... I am not so sure about. I am glad I went, I was able to put my to do's aside for a bit, celebrate my grandson, observe the people around me and snuggle my little bit. It was a great evening. Today... I'm back to being busy... got a Golf Tournament to work, we are raising money for Summer Camp and the G.I.R.L.S program...