The graduation weekend was good. Really good.
Friday Afternoon/Evening: My aunt, in town because her grandson was in the hospital (he’s doing better, but there are still questions), came over and helped me clean. Then we spent the day with family and CG picked up pizza on his way home. Excellent.
Saturday Morning: We (BG, CG, Bubble, and Squeak) spent the morning at the church at the Pentecost Retreat drumming and singing and “moving” (Really?!?) so I got at least a taste of Pentecost.
Worst thing that happened all weekend of which I am aware: Costco had lost our cake order and had to quickly put one together as my folks, the ones picking it up, tried to figure out exactly what had happened and how it was supposed to look.
Saturday Afternoon/Evening: The folks took the kids swimming and CG and I scurried around getting things ready. That evening the 4 of us plus my folks went out for a family celebration. CG surprised me with the plaque that he designed and had made (Photo at the end of the entry). Wow! My folks didn’t surprise me with a giftcard for my newest Apple toy (an iPod Touch). The server at the restaurant said, “I can tell you’re celebrating something” and surprised me with a warm, fresh-baked big chocolate chip cookie with a scoop of ice cream. Yum!
Back home after dinner, CG and I worked a couple more hours getting things ready and I wondered why I’d felt the need to throw myself a party.
Sunday Morning: Graduation was at 8:00 a.m. and they wanted grads there at 6:45. We all 6 left the house together at 6:16 a.m. The kids were in pajamas with clothes and breakfast in a bag. They got ready while I went to check-in.
I quickly checked in and then found a cohort member and we chatted until it was time to go to the holding area. There we met up with the other English folk. Through “random chance” and professors’ last names, I got to stand, walk, and sit with the 2 other students I knew best. (You can see the three of us processing.)
We sat through a very undergrad oriented graduation (which was fine–I’d rather be with other Humanities folks celebrating all of University life than random grad students only.) My committee chair hooded me (WOW!) and then we sat through all those undergrads, a handful of whom I had taught as a TA.
And then we waited. and waited. The party was an open house, so there was no obligation for people to be there at a certain time or to RSVP, so we weren’t sure what was going to happen. Finally, people started trickling in. There were some surprise no-shows and some surprise shows (people we hadn’t seen since before Squeak was born) and an email from a friend of CG who informed us he planned to come and drop the news he’d gotten married, but having just eloped the week before, he was kind of tired and not really up for it. (That was a fun party topic with mutual friends.) It never became a big party (evidently it was a busy weekend), but it was good and there was good opportunity to chat with the people who did come. We have a lot of crackers and spreads left over, though. And I’ve been eating cake all week.
The RevDoc asked if I’d been able to be present to the ceremonies. I really had. Once I left the family at the car, I didn’t really think about family responsibilities or party prep or anything else. I still don’t know where I am going, but this secular, academic tradition gave me a sense of being finished, of having the right to wear the robe, of being ready to move forward, whatever that means.