Now that things have slowed down a little, and my house is kinda back in order, I can sit down and talk about Josh’s graduation week, and the drama that surrounded it. I couldn’t have been prouder this week, I also have never been so frazzled, busy and emotionally all over the place. Grab a cup of something, sit back, get comfortable and be prepared for quite a ride.
One of the reasons for my emotional overload is that Don, the boys’ father, and his wife came back into town from his home in Alaska and was making plans to spend time with the boys. There has historically been a lot of emotion around that situation and I was already borrowing trouble. It actually ends up that Don was really good about his visits and was more than flexible when it came to our schedule. He came in to Texas on Monday and came to take the boys and their girlfriends out to dinner on Tuesday night. When he got to our house he gave me a whole bunch of pictures that he had from our time together and wanted scanned so that we could both have a copy. I was so pleased since he had pictures that I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years and was very excited to get back. I don’t know how but he ended up with all of the pictures of the day my youngest son came home from the hospital. Don sent the kids outside so that we could talk about Josh and his future and then took the kids out. The girls thought he was very charming and the boys were very proud that he didn’t do anything to cause trouble. When he dropped them off he said he was going to make himself scarce until graduation day so that the boys could help me get ready for Sunday. He even volunteered to not attend the graduation party after the ceremony since he was under the impression it was only going to be a family affair. Once he found out that other friends were invited as well he agreed to come, even if it was only for a while.
Josh himself was another cause for anxiety, and pride. I know that every parent looks forward to their child graduating with both joy and fear, and I was no exception. Josh has never been a great student because he refused to put a lot of effort into studying but he really pulled it together at the end and had his second semester where he got all A’s. Towards the end Josh really questioned if he was going to graduate this year, more because of nerves and his real inability to decide what to do after this stage of his life. He has been tossing around the military option and I thought that he was serious about it but during the last semester he stopped studying for the ASVAB and had one excuse after another for not focusing on his future. When asked, he would get angry and combative, complaining that “everyone was pestering him about it and they could ….”. Not that I liked his language, or his attitude, but I understood his frustration and tried very hard to be supportive. Since he had no real plan and no focus, he didn’t have a single thing to look forward to. His other idea was that he was going to get his diploma, move up to Waco and live around Liz who will be starting her sophomore year at Baylor. I am not sure how he was planning on supporting himself, supporting Liz, or convincing Liz’ dad that he would be a good bet for his daughter, but it added to the extra insecurities that he was dealing with toward the end. Because he was dealing with so much, it rubbed off on the rest of us and things were quite strained. It didn’t help that the day before the last day of school he came home and told me that he was probably going to have to go back to school next year because he bombed his Economics final. We were walking on eggshells that night, believe me. In the end, he got an 89% and did very well in that class enabling him to graduate with the rest of his class.
Because his school district is so big, and there are 7 high schools that have to use the same facility, Josh’s graduation was scheduled for 2pm on Sunday, June 7th which made for a super long weekend. Friday morning the boys and I headed off to Sams Club to pick up food for approximately 65 people. That was a challenge, made more difficult by the absolute WORST sacker in the entire world. I ended up having to send Ben back to get new hamburger buns after the lady put the laundry soap on top of the ones that were in the cart. I should have gone to the manager but I was just annoyed enough to have NOT been nice. We got home, put away the cold stuff really quickly then were back out to run more errands. After stopping at one of my sister’s house to pick up chairs and tables we stopped for lunch. We finally got home after 5 and Wayne was at home doing the lawn. Can anyone explain to me why the man feels that the outside of the house is more important than making sure the inside of the house is presentable? Is it a pride thing?
Lauren, Ben’s girlfriend, was also graduating so her entire family gathered together to celebrate and to meet Ben so after we unloaded the Tahoe he took off. While he was having dinner with his girlfriend, Liz was stuck at work so Josh, Wayne and I all went to Wal-Mart to find a white shirt and new tie for the graduate. He already had his suit, actually he pulled a suit out of Wayne’s closet that Wayne hadn’t fit into for several years and the only thing I had to do was lower the hem about an inch. He looked really sharp in the suit. We got home and Liz showed up so off they ran too. Wayne and I didn’t get a whole lot of quiet time because we were entirely too busy going off to my other sister’s and my best friend’s house to pick up MORE tables and chairs. It isn’t like I have enough stuff around the house for 60 plus (thank God – I wouldn’t have a clue where to store it) J.
Saturday was Lauren’s graduation party and of course we had to attend that. We spent several hours over there then were back home putting things together. Everything came together around 10:30 then chaos. The stove stopped working, which Wayne fixed; the garbage disposal stopped working, which Wayne fixed; then the ice maker in the fridge stopped working, WHICH WAYNE FIXED. I will tell you, there is nothing in this place that Wayne can’t make work (which is nice). We finally crawled into bed around 12:30 and had to be up way too early in order to set up for church.
Wayne wasn’t supposed to work for church that Sunday but all of the other directors were out of town so he stepped up. I wasn’t thrilled since I was doing all of the last minute things in the kitchen but I figured as long as he was out of church when Pastor Dan said AMEN I was going to be content. It took about 5 minutes longer but since he stopped and to pick up ice and STILL beat me home I couldn’t complain. We were planning on meeting the rest of the proud family/friend group over at the Merrill Center around 1:30, just a half hour before graduation, but the boy’s stepmom called and said that the stadium was already packed at 12:30. That threw me into panic mode and I threw together the rest of the preparations and ran out the door. Of course when we got there there were hundreds of empty seats but that is just par for the course. She was only talking about the section she and Don were sitting in and I think Ben misunderstood her message. Either way, we were there and found our seats.
At first I was in charge of the camera and I brought out my baby. My hubby bought me my Canon Rebel XLR for Christmas with a “super lens” and even sitting several hundred feet away from the stage I was able to zoom in to identify faces with amazing clarity. Of course I shot in RAW so that I had the opportunity to adjust the lighting after the fact. All of the camera advances did me absolutely no good when I had the camera however because I couldn’t stop shaking and every picture I took was completely blurry. I gave up quickly and passed the camera over to my darling hubby and just sat back and bounced. The speeches were about as expected; one was actually pretty good and the closer it came to calling his name, the harder it was for me to remain even partially composed. I actually had three of my “children” graduating this year, including a favorite young lady of mine from church, so I had to watch the names closely as the graduates crossed the stage Brianna first, Lauren last and Josh smack in the middle. I think I actually cried when they called Josh’s name and he kinda moseyed across the stage as if he had just woken up. He even shook his principal’s hand (I was worried that after all the grief she gave him over the years he was going to snub her, or worse) and then it was over. It was almost anti-climatic. ALMOST. A lot of people took off after their kid was called but we stayed to the end then managed to make it home just in time for our company to show up.
The party was awesome, everyone had lots to eat and drink and a zillion pictures were taken. I managed to get Josh to sit still for entirely more pictures than he wanted taken and he even stayed in his shirt and tie until Lauren and her parents showed up so that we could get pictures of the two of them together. The last person left at 9ish and we cleaned up the leftovers, did the first load of dishes and crawled between the covers. I was amazed that Wayne was up the next day to make it to work. Me, I did NOTHING all day and was perfectly content.