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Graduation 2016


July 20, 2016

My son, Sam, graduated from high school in June—ending his last, restless weeks of 12th grade and beginning his final summer vacation—that nebulous time between high school graduation and the start of his first year of college.

It is an uneasy, transitional time for us all. We are a close-knit family, and I know I will miss him a lot while he is gone. It will take some getting used to.

We are still using the leftover paper napkins, decorated with “2016!”, that we had with our graduation cake. I am still badgering Sam to write his thank-you notes for graduation gifts and scholarship awards. We are still attending graduation parties and barbeques for all his classmates. And new posts of graduation photos continue to pop up on my Facebook page. But we are also starting to gather together Sam’s belongings for his move to Syracuse University at the end of August. I’ve collected a box of envelopes, a jug of detergent, one lonely mug and a spoon in a Tupperware tote as a start to his college packing. And, I have to find oversize sheets for the Syracuse dorm beds. Apparently the beds are extra-long—I keep joking that it must be on account of all those extra-tall basketball players.

Sam needs a new computer. He needs to buy sneakers. He needs to clean his room. He laughs at this and drives off in his car to work or to hang out with his friends. He thinks there is still so much time for all these things.

But Sam also registered to vote in June following his birthday and then voted for the first time in the recent primary. He also registered for the draft—which is not only required by law but is also necessary to be eligible for certain college loans. As it is with all big life changes, it seems that Sam moves forward only to take a step back to move forward again.

At a recent party at our home, the kids (young adults?) still gathered together to play their old standby games of kick the can and capture the flag—the games they always played following our 4-H meetings. When it got dark they played “Hope the Ghost Comes Out Tonight,” a tag type game, from my husband John’s childhood neighborhood. John played too, but he can’t catch the kids like he used to—they are too fast now.

Within days of graduation, a few of Sam’s classmates had already left the area for summer jobs. Some had left to get settled in their college towns.