Saturday, June 16, 2012
My mom came in from out of town, and Penny joined Rob, Alex and I.
The 'dinner' was held in a basement hall on paper plates. We were served cubes of cheese, triangle sandwiches, mini egg rolls and squares of cake. Bad wine was available for $7 a pour. It was one of the most fun and memorable celebrations of my life!
A big band was playing and Rob coaxed Alex to get up to dance with me. The song was 'Someone to Watch Over Me', a tune off the Nelson Riddle/Linda Ronstadt CD I used to play when I nursed my son as a baby. Holding him in my arms, dreaming the best for him... Then 20 years later, here we are, him holding me, waltzing around together. Such a very special evening.
Convocation itself was held a few days later. There were so many graduates, the university had to have 5 different sessions of 400 students. Each one's name was read aloud and each proceeded to the Chancellor, Dean and faculty to shake hands and have the ceremonial scarf placed on their shoulders. The parade of gowns and smiles was very touching.
The speeches were full of idealism and hope, peppered with quotes like "You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give." Messages of social responsibility, personal leadership, courage in the face of challenging times. Relevant to the occasion, certainly, but also food for all the souls in the room. Parents, celebrants, academics, significant others, children... several thousand of us joined together in the moment.
As part of the ceremony the graduates were asked to recognize the people in the audience who had supported their success. Alex not only applauded, he was the first to stand, and started an ovation. I felt such gratitude at that moment, and looking around I could see I was not alone.