Our family reached yet another milestone when our 2nd oldest grandson graduated from high school this past weekend.
He’s a smart kid but likes to do things in his own time and manner, at home as well as at school.
I remember early on in his academic career, when he had just moved from church to public school, he got into an argument with his teacher on a matter of religion, as a consequence of which his mother was called to the school and told that he had caused a disturbance in the class by openly disagreeing with the teacher. We may not see eye to eye on many issues but I applauded him for standing up, even at that young age, for his beliefs.
I was not so forgiving however when he stubbornly refused to get up out of bed one Christmas morning when the rest of us were waiting with eager anticipation to open our gifts, knowing full well that we wouldn’t start without him!
He is known for pulling goofy stunts especially when with one or more of his many friends, likes to impress the ladies, is a bit of a daredevil and has repeatedly been greeted at the school door by the principal as he arrived late for classes, so you just know that if anyone is going to do something outrageous on Graduation Day it would him (my grandson, not the principal!)
Before we left home to make the four-hour drive to join in the celebrations, those of the family who were not able to go with us all more or less said the same thing, “I hope he doesn’t do anything rash!” I’m sure his parents were thinking something along those lines too.
When we arrived at the auditorium we were handed a program and our first thought was, “Is he actually being allowed to graduate?” My daughter told me that there had been several times in the past year when her youngest had confided to her, “It’s no big deal, Mom, but I think I may be failing this or that class.” She swears he deliberately told her this to give her grey hairs! We all immediately scanned the names of the 2012 graduates and breathed a sigh of relief. “Phew!” There he was and not only that but the recipient of an Academic Honors Diploma!
But despite all this we were still not easy in our minds. As we sat waiting for the ceremony to begin, a rumor reached us that he was planning something big! You know what it’s like. There’s always one kid who walks across the stage to receive his diploma and opens his gown to reveal boxer shorts and little else, does cartwheels across the stage or moonwalks his way towards the presenter. These things would, we knew, be too passe for our boy.
The wait was becoming almost unbearable and, as the future of America marched in to the strains of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, I felt my daughter tense beside me, probably wishing she could run down there and shake some sense into her wayward offspring at the last minute. My husband sat ready with the movie camera, praying that there wouldn’t be anything too disastrously memorable to record and I…..well there was just a teeny, tiny part of me that was thinking, “Go for it, lad!” Naughty, naughty Grandma!!
As they got further and further into the alphabet we could see our boy hovering in the wings as we sat, sweating, on the edge of our seats. His name was called, a cheer went up and he made his way sedately across the stage. He received his diploma, shook hands with the principal, who I’m sure was suffering the same pangs of anxiety as the rest of us, and walked offstage. No drama, no embarrassing moment.
Even so, there was still time. I recall when his brother graduated, instead of throwing their caps in the air, a giant inflatable sex doll was launched ceilingwards and she was batted about for several minutes until one of the faculty was able to capture and deflate her. Was there yet a possibility that our grandson had smuggled something in under his gown?
As tassels were moved from one side to the other and the final pronouncement made, some 400 graduates produced cans of Silly String and pelted each other and any available member of the faculty while we all stood and cheered. Good clean fun and a harmless yet exuberant way to finish the proceedings!
Later during the ensuing celebrations back at the house, when I took our boy aside and confessed to him that I had half-hoped he would do something audacious, he smiled and explained that the diploma folders with which they had been presented were actually empty and it had been brought home to them in no uncertain terms that if anyone tried to pull any kind of prank during the ceremony they would have to go back later in the summer to collect their diploma.
He may be crazy but he’s not stupid! Well done, Grandson! You made us proud!