Graduating in Absentia

So, finally, all that hard work is done and dusted, and you can now attend your Graduation Ceremony! Everyone can acknowledge the dedication and sacrifices of your years of studying, stressing, strange sleeping hours, anxiety and missing out on life’s moments, that your friends who were not studying, had the privilege of enjoying.

Your parents can feel like all the sacrifices they made were worth every cent!

Your memories of the evening will be captured in photos, more especially that one photo….yes, you in your gown, cap and holding that sought after degree. The photo you intend framing and hanging on the wall next to your framed degree….. in your amazing modern, luxurious and plush office…… with a 360 degree view of the city……

This is how I expected my oldest child (aka pepper), to have felt when he attained his undergraduate degree. I totally assumed he would be so excited for this momentous occasion! The fact that he would choose NOT to go, was not even a consideration.

Being that the ceremony was in March, I did not even discuss this exciting upcoming event. I assumed he would approach me with all the necessary information when this was called for.

Sitting at work one day, I received a call from a friend, whose son had graduated the same year.

“Can we go out for a celebratory dinner after the  graduation ceremony?” she asked.

“What a lovely idea”, I said.

Great ,I thought, this was going to be so exciting. I could get my moment of glory, my moment of pride….I did this….me….well….whatever…..no way in hell he could have done this without me!!! Finally, I was going to get my moment that would make it all worthwhile!! I could take photos, distribute them on all my social media platforms. Brag to the world about my accomplishment…I mean, HIS accomplishment. Let the world know I managed to raise a perfectly functional, and smart, and responsible, and diligent adult, despite the fact that there were challenges. Yes please!! This is my moment…hmmmmph……okay…..HIS moment.

Anyway….enough about me. When I got home that day, I excitedly discussed this post ceremony dinner celebration with my son.

“I am not going to my graduation mom.”

“What????? What do you mean????? How can you not?????” I persisted.

“Firstly, it is going to be boring, and secondly, I don’t see any point?” he replied casually.

“Yes, it will be boring,” I bellowed. I mean, that is a prerequisite for such a ceremony….that together with the obligatory pomp and circumstance, but to us mere mortals…. boring. “The whole idea, is to mark the end of all the years of work you put in, the pinnacle of pride” I continued.

“Naaaaa,” he replied.

“What about the photos?? You HAVE to have photos as memories??”

“Where are your graduation photos mom?” the little smug brat asked.

“In a cupboard somewhere…..but that’s not the point. Yes it was boring, yes my photos have never been on display, but you cannot NOT go??” I continued.

“Naaaa mom, really. I don’t think you understand how much I don’t want to go. A friend of mine is actually not speaking to me at the moment, as he said he wanted us to take photos together for memories.”

“Then do it for him dammit!!! I deserve the moment……..I mean he deserves the moment” I shrieked.

“Naaaa…….but I promise I will go to my post grad graduation, and you can get your photos”.

Well so glad I had spent 3 years of educating the little rotten swine, and he seems to have learnt only one word “naaaaa”!!!!!! I thought to myself.

So it got me thinking back to my graduation. I really never even thought one had an option whether or not to attend. It was just something one did. But having said that, I did want to go, for the very same reasons that I assumed my son would want to go.

It was a bit political, however. I was allowed to invite 4 guests. My husband was not even a question. Obviously he would looooove the opportunity to proudly see his wife being capped!! Ditto for my my mother in law. My parents had been divorced, and my father had remarried. I had always been very close to my mom, so felt I had to ask her, rather than have my father and his wife there. My dad was not a hugely emotional man, so it did not even cross my mind to invite him. So that left one more invite, and I decided to invite my one brother, who had spoken me out of “dropping out” one anxiety ridden moment just before my finals.

However, long story short, the only one that wasn’t dying to go home from start to finish, was my brother. If he also had felt that way, he at least had the decency to hide the fact. It was a total anti-climax. My photos were done as quickly as possible, as my guests were irritable and wanting to leave as quickly as possible, and all in all, it was nothing like I imagined!! No pride, no parade, no speeches about my achievements, just “when are we going?”.

I then remembered how my dad, on hearing that I had attended my graduation ceremony, asked me why he had not been invited. And do you know, that I am ashamed to say, that only then, from experiencing it from a parent’s point of view, did I appreciate how hurt my dad must have been. He, of everyone, would have loved to have been there. He would have savored every moment. He would have been so proud, so absolutely proud!! It was mortified, and I can only hope that he knows how sorry I am, and that he has forgiven me. Although, knowing my dad, if I had the opportunity to apologise to him in person, he would probably say something like “no problem, wasn’t that cut up about it anyway”. But the life and times of my mom and dad are for another day.

Anyhooo, that made me realise that actually….my son was correct. This arrogant little turd had more insight than me as to what is actually important in the big scheme of things.

Waiting for over a year to actually collect his degree, all the while being incessantly nagged by yours truly….you know….the degree he never received at the Graduation Ceremony that he did not attend, might have been a bit excessive though.

The day he did finally collect it, I heard my phone messages pinging incessantly, like my phone was about to detonate a monstrous explosion. What on earth… I thought, I opened my messages to see possibly 30 photos of my son, dressed in his usual casual gear (just another day at University), posing  in various over-elaborate positions (mostly with an exaggerated look of annoyance on his face), holding his degree. He was leaning against the wall, seated on the bench, kneeling on the floor….any possible position that would get his point through!! The message read “here are your photos”. Little swine!!

But fact of the matter was that I had got the point, was over it and definitely did not feel like he had deprived me of a moment.

So fast forward to him receiving his post graduate degree recently. You know…the one which “he had promised he would attend the Graduation Ceremony for?” I fleetingly wondered whether he would still obliged to attend, but made no mention of it, as, like I said…..I was now over it!!

Not surprisingly I was told a few days ago that he would not be attending that one either.

The dazed and confused look on is face when I made no issue of it, and just replied “okay, your decision”, was certainly an unforgettable moment!

Like I said….over it!! Oh, and I did kind of get a moment!!

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