Monday, May 20, 2013

Pomp and Circumstance Again

It’s the season of Pomp and Circumstance and mortarboard marches.  Time of big transitions.  Of mothertears in the laundry room when you find your son’s soccer jersey from 8th grade in a random basket of un-sorted clothing and simply cannot believe the strapping young man leaning against the car down in your driveway was ever the little boy who cried on your lap because the other boys on the team had already started their growth spurts and were getting more field time. 

It’s the season of roving graduation parties, beer kegs, recitals.  Endings. Bright beginnings.  For some parents it can be a “Sunrise Sunset” moment.  “Is this the little girl I carried/Is this the little boy at play/ I don’t remember growing older/when did they?”

For our graduates, it’s more of a jumble of things.  I personally don’t remember enormous sentimentality at those turning points in my own life.  I was ready to move on and less interested in milking the sniffly moment. 

 My older daughter graduated from her small liberal arts college last weekend with a Psychology degree, a sense of accomplishment, and tears in her eyes. I imagine she felt the significance of the day with a lump in her throat for what has been an academically rigorous, socially intense, culturally diverse, mind and heart expending four years.  My guess is she feels a glimmer of the significance the passage, but like many of us, won’t realize for a long while how her liberal arts education has taught her to live in and think about the world around her. 

I’m not on anyone’s list to make a graduation speech, but I do have some wishes for my daughter as she moves further out into the world.  If I had a son, I’d wish these things for him as well:

            1. Try to remember that you already have what you need inside of you. You were taught to look both ways before you cross the street, to trust your gut when in discernment about the kindnesses shown you by strangers, and to know the basic differences between right and wrong.

            2. You can choose to view the glass as half empty or half full. The way you choose to think about your life and your world will influence your overall happiness to the end.    You’ll especially need to remember this a lot as you move toward the middle of your life and beyond. You always have a choice. 

            3. It’s your road. Stay awake at the wheel and follow the signs that lead you to your passions, to work and relationships that feed and sustain you. 

            4.  Remember that you are loved.

            5.  Tell the truth. Be kind.

            6.  Clean up your messes.

            7. Sing, dance, keep a journal, beat a drum.

            8. Remember all your teachers, the good and the bad. You learn from all of them.

            9. Go to the woods often and breathe deeply. Do not forget to be a good steward of this earth.

            10. Love the ones you’re with.

So.  It’s that time of year.  Time to pause and be reminded of the best wishes wise people have bestowed for centuries. Good luck graduates. My hippie mama wishes are pretty simple. Go forth and make a better world. 

BLR for the Poplar Grove Muse


  1. Oh, Beth - you've gone and done it again! Of course I always love your writing. But your daughter, graduated!!! yes, such a poignant time; such beautiful words; and I'll bet, such a beautiful young woman. You done good, my sister.

  2. Just beautiful! So spare and wise and what we all wish we could say. MKP