At Stonecarrier's suggestion, he and I went out for breakfast on Sunday. I'm not saying that we were certain drarwenchicken's house was going to be a chaotic frenzy getting her out the door an hour before everyone else. We just wanted to help by not adding to the maelstrom. So we had a very pleasant, leisurely breakfast as Zells. As we were driving to campus, drarwenchicken called. She was running very late, and wanted to ask that if she had difficulty finding parking, could we meet her at Templeton and park her car for her? Of course we would. She's our sister.
The ceremony itself went as well as can be expected. When the professors marched in, wearing their velvety doctoral robes, it made me want to get a PhD. That lasted until I started getting bored, about an hour into the ceremony. It then took another hour to read all the names, and we were grateful that the bleachers at LC are padded. But we all got to cheer vigorously when drarwenchicken got her diploma (well, the cover for it actually), and that's what counts.
We then spent a while trailing after drarwenchicken as she zipped about, chatting with fellow graduates and professors. When she'd introduce everyone, they'd say how great it was to have her in the program and what a wonderful person she is (as if we didn't know). Still, that's what one does at graduation ceremonies. My people don't have many traditional rituals, so we observe the ones we do have to the letter. Two items of note: The reception food was really quite good. And at one point, I noticed that everybody in my immediate family was wearing a hat, except me. I'm choosing to believe it was coincidence, and not some secret plan from which I was excluded.
With that completed, we returned to the home of drarwenchicken & J to prepare for the post-graduation party. As you may guess, that effort, and the party itself for that matter, revolved primarily around the preparation and consumption of food. And watching the kids. I had a good time, but by 9:00 p.m., I was plumb tuckered (as we say in Arizona). I'm not used to being around people all day. Still, it was a great time and a thoroughly successful graduation.
Some thoughts about Nephew C: There are differences in play styles that Stonecarrier and I engage in with him. Stonecarrier does the more active stuff; roughhousing, running about, flipping C upside down, etc. C loves it. I'm drawn to the toys; C and I spent a lot of time playing with the exercise ball and building things with the legos. He seemed to like that too. I wonder if our preferences stem from old memories; I was generally smaller than my playmates and I think I have the assumption that roughhousing is just going to lead to someone getting hurt, because it was usually me. So I tend to avoid the more physical stuff.
Did I mention that C is really smart? I'm not boasting, because I really can't take any credit, but he is. I was watching C playing with W (the son of J's relatives, who was born within a week of C), and noticing that W is taller and literally able to run circles around C. And not to project my experience on C, but when I was a bright, less-athletic kid growing up in the wilds of Arizona, some aspects of that really sucked. I know that everybody has to deal with the tribulations of childhood and adolescence, that's normal. Thinking of him experiencing bullies and ridicule and self-doubt from feeling different and outcast, it makes me want to give him a big hug and tell him that it will all be okay. And that life has a lot of good things to offer as well, and they can make up for the sucky parts.
I'll make a point of reminding him of that over the next fifteen years or so.