My eldest niece-in-law graduated from high school recently. Her school did a ceremony/dinner/ dance, and the extended family was invited to purchase tix for the dinner/dance. Of course I went. I’ve known her since she was an adorable one year old, and she’s grown into a lovely young woman. Contrary to popular expectation, this doesn’t automatically make me feel ancient. I knew this day was coming. Besides – I have three more to look forward to in the next few years, so I have plenty of time and opportunity to feel old if I want to…
The ceremony was nicely done, and the mistress of ceremonies did a lovely job of introducing each grad. As each came up, she said a few words about them, such as:
“Jane Smith.” (Jane steps on to the stage)
“Jane has accepted a scholarship at the University of Whatsit and plans to become a veterinarian because she loves children. She would like to thank her parents, siblings, teachers and friends for their unconditional love and support. She leaves us with certificates of honour in X, Y and Z, as well as honours standing 4 years running.”
It was nice. A little Oscars-ish, but nice. You could see that it made a difference to each child – and I suspect that in many cases they’d given more thought to what they wanted said than they probably let on to their peers.
I half-expected at least one moment of bitterness, such as…
“Joe Schmo.” (Joe steps on to the stage)
“Joe has been rejected by every university he can afford, and will have to turn down entry to the prestigious university he’d like to go to as he doesn’t qualify for a student loan, and his parents have decided not to help him financially. He would dearly like to tell his family off for making his life a living hell for the past 18 years, and for congratulating themselves for his successes.”
It wasn’t until afterward that I realized I’d let out an audible sound of relief once the last grad was introduced. Why did I expect such cynicism and pessimism at such a young age? Most people don’t get like that until at least their early 20’s. And here I thought I had such a bright outlook on life… Maybe not….
As always I played the role of photographer, and must have taken at least 100 shots. My subject was in her element, and I wanted to capture that for her, for her family and for me. They won’t be just a reminder of the day and the occasion – with any luck, they’ll also be a reminder not only to expect the good, but also to plan ahead and help the good happen.