Yesterday Nighean Dhonn graduated from high school.
Graduations in this part of the world are doing on a rolling basis; there is a single venue per district and each school gets three hours to roll parents and students in, graduate them, and roll them out for the next one. The irony of the industrial nature of the final act of primary and secondary education - the production line - is not lost on me.
Nighean Gheal came home from the Big Big City for the event and Nighean Bhan is here from her burgeoning "work-until-graduate-school-starts" job. This is first time since Christmas that everyone has been home and likely will be the last time until Christmas that it is true.
The graduation was the usual series of circumstances of Pompish Circumstances that one has come to expect of such things: long trains of students coming in as an endless "ending 1 and repeat" drones through the event center, speeches that students work hard on that are both fairly predictable (if not, thankfully, controversial) and benignly forgettable - and then the fly-bys as the students stride across the stage, sometimes to applause and sometimes to the wild screams of friends and family 32 rows back trying to let them know they are here.
High School Graduation. One of the few traditions and rites we seem to maintain for this age group.
I was commenting to The Ravishing Mrs. TB this week as we were leaving from a high school event that this would be the first fall in 10 years we would not be looking at September to return. If I think about it even more, this is first time in 20 years we will not actively be thinking about getting ready for school (other than the paying of the college tuition, of course). And, of course, the fact that this probably represents a gap of 20 or more years before we would likely attend another high school graduation.
It is not just that such things as school and school events are largely ending. It is equally that family dynamics are changing as well.
Likely after August of this year, this will not be "home" for any of Na Clann. Yes, they may still come to live here from time to time (Nighean Bhan is to finish graduate school, and surely Nighean Dhonn will be home at least for Christmases) but this will never be their place of residence. It will be where they spent a lot of their lives and a place where all the things they could not take with them immediately will reside, but not the place that that spiritually live. That will be elsewhere. This will be a place of memories and visits and only tangentially of "life as it happens".
On the Road of Life, we seem to be passing a lot of exits all at once with the sign "Next Gas: 100 Miles" flying by out of the corner of our eye as we zoom past. There is simply nothing for it but to check the fuel gauge and drive on, hoping the scenery belies what seems to be a rather stark statement of desolation.
Congrats to the grad and Mom and Dad! Those exit signs will be flying past TB, make sure you have some cash on hand as well as a credit card, never know what you'll need eh?ReplyDelete
Thanks Nylon12. We are indeed picking up speed at this point - even this week, as it were: somehow we managed to pack our 30th Wedding anniversary, high school graduation, and end of my job into more or less the same week.Delete
Carefully puts more cash in the wallet...
Congratulations on your daughter's graduation. School events will be lessened, then gone for a while, then the Grands will begin showing up and Circle of Life begins anew.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I was commenting to The Ravishing Mrs. TB yesterday that this is likely the last high school graduation I will be required to attend for at least 20 years.Delete
Life is full of passages, and they just keep piling up. Well done, Mom and Dad! It took my wife and me a long time to reach the empty nest. It seemed when one would leave, another would return for a while. That is all behind us now. Fortunately, the two of us are still the best of friends and are enjoying this stage of life. Best to all of you.ReplyDelete
Thank you Bob. We have already had our eldest return for a spell and our middle will live here during graduate school, so we are likely still 2 years minimum from anything like an empty nest - although with graduate school I am sure we will see very little of her.Delete
Graduations always leave me with mixed emotions.ReplyDelete
sbrgirl - Here as well. That said, there seems to be a distribution. The Ravishing Mrs. TB is taking this more emotionally than I am. I am slightly on the side of "This is why did everything" side, knowing that in the end they all would be going anyway. But it is difficult.Delete
The rights of passage from childhood are big changes for the entire family. When they're little, it seems like raising them will take forever. Suddenly, they're grown and going out on their own. Congratulations to your daughter! I'm guessing she's excited for what life has in store next.ReplyDelete
Thanks Leigh! This is indeed why we raise them to be independent.Delete
We talked a bit last night as we were out driving. She is definitely excited about college.