I was perusing Facebook the other day when I came across a picture from a longtime friend. It was a picture of her son and his friends playing football. She said something to the effect of, “To some it’s just a picture of four boys playing football. To me it’s an end of an era.” She had watched for years as her son and those boys had played football in her front yard. Now they would all be leaving for college. She cried as she said goodbye to her son’s friends, having known them pretty much their entire lives. She wasn’t just sending her own child off on a new adventure. She was sending off all of these kids that had been a part of her life through her kids.
I smiled wistfully because I knew exactly what she meant. My house was once the neighborhood gathering spot. I had kids in and out all the time. I was usually the designated chauffeur. I can’t say that I had known my kids’ friends their entire lives because we moved when the kids were 4 and 6, but their friends had been around for a long time before we left for Virginia. Even in Virginia Rock Star had a close group of friends that were around quite a bit.
Then we moved here. She graduated. The silence was deafening. I didn’t get to cheer for other kids. I didn’t know any of the others. All the kids I had watched grow up were 1500 and 600 miles away. I missed graduation parties and college send offs. I missed the final year of gymnastics for so many of the girls that my daughter grew up with. I missed a Senior Night that meant anything. She had only been there a year when the first Senior Night happened. She felt no school spirit. She didn’t care about those people. It was going through the motions; she couldn’t even mention all her accomplishments because what happened at her previous school didn’t count.
She did not want a graduation party. Other people insisted she needed one. We caved. It sucked. It’s a little difficult to have a huge celebration when you’ve been someplace for only two years.
The last three graduation parties I’ve been to the graduates have had a joint party with one or two other friends. The guest list was extensive. The food was catered. The decorations were beautiful. At least two of them had games and music.
My niece organized Rock Star’s party. She did a beautiful job with the decorations. Alas, it rained so most of her work was undone and then re-done inside. That pretty much eliminated the games from Rock Star’s party. I couldn’t afford a DJ. Or a photo booth which I really wanted. I spent hundreds on food; the sub and potato salad was store bought, as were the cookies and cake. But I made several dips and salads, and my brother provided grilled chicken and macaroni and cheese. Most disappointing though was the guest list.
We had a total of 32 people that attended, including myself. She had eight friends plus her boyfriend show up, and her friends all showed up the last hour- 6 of them showing up in the last 20-30 minutes. I didn’t really have any friends to invite. Almost all of them live in Utah. I invited two of my friends from high school; one showed up. The mobster came up as promised. Her boyfriend’s family came as well. The rest was family. I didn’t really need a graduation party for that. It wasn’t a horrendous day, and nothing horrible happened, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking, “I can’t believe I spent all this money on such a disappointing party.” It was absolutely a waste of money and time.
These are the little things people don’t mention when they are extolling the virtues of the “exuberant defiance” of affairs. It’s kinda messy and fairly sad, so they prefer to focus on the the ol’ standby of happiness. Who can argue with that?
Yes, he shat all over his daughter’s life… but look how HAPPY he is!
High school graduation is but a blip in the course of a person’s life. Childhood will be a fading memory. Focus on the future! The important thing is HAPPINESS!
Just as you’ve gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, you’ve gotta shatter a few lives to make yourself happy.
I do try to remember that, you know? I repeatedly tell myself that while it wasn’t what I was expecting high school is a mere four years and it’s over before you know it. It isn’t necessarily a foreshadowing of your life to come. Stop being dramatic, Sam, and just get with the program. So what if you didn’t get to see the kids your kids grew up with graduate? Big deal! There are worse things in life. Yep, life got screwed up by the cheating asshole ex you married but stop dwelling on it and focus on the positives.
Your kid is alive. She graduated. She will hopefully have an amazing time at college. God knows she is so excited about it. Her graduation party was a disappointment but you were expecting that. It’s all over and done so stop whining and get on with life.
It doesn’t work for the most part. I still hate his fucking guts at times like this. I’m okay with that for now.