The rituals of our lives are the moments built in to make us stop and reflect, like it or not.  Births, birthdays, marriages, deaths…and graduations.  My oldest grandchild graduated from high school this week, the third generation to graduate at that school, the oldest generation being me.  A cause to pause.  Yikes!

My first thought is disbelief that these years have flown so quickly, these years from my own graduation through all those other rituals to get to this point.  All the memories flood back as everyone in the family compares it to his or her own graduation and all our memories become part of this present day.  My other grandchildren are watching and taking it all in.  I have two more graduating next year and a couple more a few years later and two more on down the line and then a gap until the last of the eight graduates in 2028.  Another moment to pause.  I’ll be in my 80s by that time.  Oh my…

My second thought as I listened to “Pomp and Circumstance” with the same teary eyes I’ve had for every graduations since my own was sadness for those in our family who weren’t here for this moment.  That was replaced with gratitude for all who made it.  This boy was surrounded by both his grandmothers, his parents and brother, three aunts, an uncle, and three of his cousins.  That’s pretty good.  At the party his parents had to celebrate his graduation, he had all the others, all the grandparents, parents, brother, aunts, uncles and cousins, along with friends and family friends.  You can tell he is feeling the love!

My thoughts rambled between happiness for him, hoping that all the good lessons and experiences he’s had are embedded in him to protect and launch him into college, that he’s learned from the less than great experiences along the way, and tremendous love for this kid who is off to see the world, one step at a time.  All of our emotions are running high as we take the last pictures with him in his cap and gown and watch him drive off to the all-night party following graduation.  A sigh, a smile and a full heart for me.

When I watched the seniors proceed to their seats to the music of the student orchestra playing that familiar piece, I saw them all looking around.  There were shouts and cheers and applause from family and friends as they entered the rowdily dignified atmosphere that is a graduation these days.  They all were looking for the familiar faces of those they love, those who were here to celebrate their success.  They all wanted to know where their parents, grandparents, relatives and friends were.  That says something about the experience, doesn’t it? In this picture, my grandson has spotted his parents.  His look says it all.


So another class has thrown their caps in the air…

DSC_0137The balloons have fallen, because who is ever too old for balloons…


Another ritual is in the books for my family.  More memories, more fun, more love.  We don’t forget these moments that help us measure the treasured minutes, hours, days and years of our lives.