I just had an very interesting conversation with Younger Son and for some reason I felt the need to address it in the blogosphere. It isn't a secret that he is on the cusp of his graduation from university and it certainly isn't a secret how tremendously proud we all are. He has worked so hard and deserves all accolades coming his way. But in a fashion that is typical for him and many others I know, he is terribly non-plussed about the whole thing. I have been trying to figure out why this is bothering me so much and I think that I finally have. I believe that there is a terrible lack of occasion present in his outlook.
Maybe my frustration is borne from the fact that I have not had the pleasure of seeing either of my children graduation from anything since grade school and that trend will continue this spring. You see, camp has always taken priority. Graduations typically occur in June and have ALWAYS coincided with the opening of the camp season. As a committed camp alum and parent, I know that I should be dripping with pride at the special place that camp has had in my sons' lives and, frankly I know that we had a great deal to do with that. But, honestly! One stinking graduation ceremony is all that I ask for!
This year the problem is as much about American Homeland Security as it is about Younger Son's ambivalence. And trust me, his ambivalence is great! When the conflict of dates was discovered, I did try to procure airline tickets to bring him home for his convocation. The problem is that the visa granted to him only allows him one crossing of the American border. If he attempts to cross back, it renders the visa null and void. There went the grand plan of attending a graduation ceremony. I was suitably upset and still am, but the rest of my family-including Younger Son-don't seem to think it a big deal. Even before the border shut us down, he was not at all interested in sitting in a sweaty Convocation Hall with thousands of others in order to have his few minutes of glory. It matters not at all to him. The degree matters. The work matters. The accomplishment matters. The occasion doesn't.
In order to try and alleviate some of my disappointment, (and yes it is MY disappointment) we planned a family dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate. Very low key and very in keeping with what he wants. I am just fine with this, honestly I am, but I can't help but wondering to where has our sense of occasion disappeared? I'm not talking big over-the-top events. I'm talking about simply recognizing a life event and making it matter. There are so few of these celebratory moments in life, it seems to me we should do all we can to make them special. Why are we so quick to dismiss them and render them unimportant?
You see, I do think that the occasion matters. I do think that we should celebrate whenever given the chance. Life is simply too damned short not to. I do think that we should applaud ourselves and those we love when milestones occur. I think we should find purpose in these events and see them for the stepping stones that they are. So tonight, I will celebrate the accomplishments of my son. I will dress nicely and I will snap his picture. I might even order dessert! I will toast him and all that he has done and I will let him see my pride. Because this is one occasion that I believe does matter.