Sunday, June 07, 2009

How could this NOT lift my spirits?

My friend Kathleen threw a joint graduation party for both of her kids. Her daughter just graduated from 8th grade, and her son is graduating from high school this week.

Not perfect kids. Her son takes the village parking laws a bit too lightly and has the tickets to prove it. Her daughter surprisingly allows herself to be trapped by decades-old (centuries-old?) gender stereotypes, and hides how good she is at math because it's only for ugly girls and geeky boys. Her son has been known to treat his father with a touch of condescension, which causes more than a touch of tension in the house. Her daughter has been known to indulge in a bit of junior high school histrionics, making her own contribution to household tension.

But they are good kids. He has been a stellar student all through school, traveled with his class to Japan and had his choice of schools before he and his parents agreed on Fordham. Best of all, he's very involved with his church and every summer he's headed down south with hammer, paint and pail and helps rehab homes in distressed communities. She is very sensitive, capable of expressing herself eloquently through art. (Unusual for a math whiz, huh?) She also has a well-calibrated internal compass. Just recently a teacher reported to Kathleen that when asked what she'd do if her boyfriend encouraged her to drink, Kathleen's daughter told the class without hesitation, "I'd get a new boyfriend."

I wasn't going to go to this party. It was a big open house, it was mostly family (and Kathleen has a very big family) and I wouldn't know many people. I mentioned this to my best friend, also knows Kathleen, and he chastised me -- telling me to get over myself, get myself over there, and just make an appearance. I'm glad I listened to him. I was only there for a little more than an hour, just long enough to have a beer, mingle a little and bond a bit with Kathleen and her husband, but it lifted my spirits enormously.

On the way out, her son unashamedly and happily hugged me. It hit me then that it's been a privilege to watch these two wonderful kids grow up.

2 comments:

  1. Like you, I usually have to drag myself to events that end up being happy I went to.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous4:46 PM

    My baby brother and sister are graduating high school next Thursday...I can't wait to see them, I can't believe they're now adults.

    ReplyDelete

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