The Big Kid graduated from college last weekend. It was an extraordinarily moving experience, mainly because there was a period in her life where everytime the phone rang I fully expected it to be either the penal system or the morgue. That's not a joke.
The ceremony was lovely...speakers who were brief and funny. Great weather. Second row seats because TBK is friends with the college president's EA and the college president is new and hasn't been there long enough to fill up the "President's Friends" section. That worked. I'll be a Friend For Hire, if you'll let me sit down.
But one thing became painfully obvious about oh, say, FIVE MINUTES into the ceremony. If you are wearing a mid-calf black robe and your only visible item of attire is a pair of shoes...you really ought to get it right. If not for yourself (because face it, you can't see your feet)...for the sake of the people seated in the second row who are really close to your feet.
My college roomate, M, drove in for the ceremony. We've been friends for over 30 years and communicate silently. We silently snickered at the first pair of Birkinstocks. The Crocs were another hiccup. The skyscraper FM pumps were an item, as were the low-heeled sandals with the wearer's toes hanging off the front. (Note to self: "Self...please explain to TBK that she has shamed her mother to no end by wearing tasteful black pumps...in suede." YOU DON'T WEAR SUEDE BEFORE LABOR DAY. That's just tacky.)
But the lower extremity display that just set us off was not about the shoes...I truthfully don't remember what they were. At what point in life does a porcelain-skinned redhead reach the conclusion that: "Hey! I think a bright orange flame tattooed writhing around my ankle and up my calf would be beautifully set off by black toenail polish,"? (I KNOW about that sentence. It's what I meant.) That point? In life? You really need to skip it.
Y'all, we cracked up. It was such a solemn occasion and we were so pleased to be there and everyone was trying SO hard and son of a bitch...right in the middle of all the pomp and circumstance there was that orange flame and that black nail polish. It GLOWED. It SCREAMED. It was sooo ugly.
Oh, and the tear jerker part of the ceremony? Didn't even involve my kid. In NINETEEN FORTY-THREE a man graduated, but had to leave for the war before the graduation ceremony. Last Saturday? That 88-year-old man, walking with a cane, crossed the stage and was awarded THE ORIGINAL DIPLOMA he earned 65 years ago. The standing ovation was long and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. It was a lovely bonus to a lovely day.
It occurred to me last week...these are the best years of my life.