Graduation ‘Vacation’

I say vacation because it was the first day I’ve been home from work at all since the end of February – when I reluctantly used my rolled- over paid day off from last year – because I had to or I’d have lost it. Having May 25 off was like a mini-vacation- even if it did mess up my overtime pay.

On Saturday after work 18 & I hadn’t agreed on what we were going to serve to eat. I had planned to have a cook out & burn our brush as a bonfire party sort of thing- but my ex moved to Oregon & I didn’t want to try to have a burn without another adult around. Also- the house was in total disarray from the work which was still in progress. Nothing was finished & everything was a mess still so having many people over was sort of out of the question.

Finally I decided that it would be best to just do strawberry shortcakes for dinner. 18 was a little skeptical but I persevered & went & bought the strawberries- bisquick & whipped cream. 11 & I sliced the strawberries & mixed them with sugar on Saturday evening. Everyone slept late on Sunday morning & we had a pancake breakfast. 18 was freaking out from about 11 am forward because she had to be there at 12:30 pm for a 2pm graduation ceremony & she insisted that we should all be there from then onward because she had heard that it was always crazy before & after graduation.

18- the BF- their friend A- left a little before noon to pick up 18’s friends V & B & take them with them to graduation. 11- 8 & I waited a little while before leaving because I knew 11 & especially 8 wouldn’t be able to sit still very well. We drove into town with no problem. However when we got to the road leading to the high school’s drive way the traffic started- I took an early left & went to the elementary school- because the high school & elementary are close together & share a parking lot. We found a great parking space & walked over to the high school.

There were people being seated in the auditorium where they had set up a live video feed. The kids & I got flyers with everyone graduating’s name on them but went over to the new gym after a quick stop at the bathrooms. We were told at the door that there wasn’t much of any room left in the gym for seating. I said I wasn’t going to watch my oldest graduate via video feed & they let me in to try to find a place to- at least stand- the kids & I found a place in the back somewhat behind the bleachers against the wall because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stand for 2 hours if I didn’t have something to lean on.

We settled against the wall & I checked my phone to see what time it was & found that I had a text message from someone I didn’t know. It turned out to be 18’s friend B who said to- when we came in- head toward the front- center seats- that they’d saved us some. We headed forward- earning ourselves some glares & found V-B-A & the BF all in a row with 3 seats for the kids & I saved in front of their seats.

Thus ensued a half hour of chaos- trying to keep 11 & 8 entertained & still. Worse was yet to come because then- at 2pm the seniors entered & I was hard put to keep 11 & 8 busy- in retrospect I should have asked 18 to leave me her cell phone. Because the bejeweled & Zuma games I have on my cell phone kept one kid busy- but I had to mediate arguments on who got the game next & how long they each could have it- whereas if I’d had 2 cell phones I could have listened & watched the graduation with my full attention.

Really though- the principals speech & especially the superintendent’s speech were fairly routine & sounded like they knew them by rote. I asked A- who is a recent graduate of Floyd Co. if it sounded the same as what he heard when he graduated- he admitted he didn’t remember. We sat in the middle of the gym- we had great seats! Thanks to the BF & A who had saved them for us. Because of my center row seating I was able to see everything.

I was amazed at how many faces I knew. It still amazes & amuses me to live in such a small town. I knew at least half the people in the crowd & I have never been to a PTA meeting (not bragging- though I hate the whole group thing & am well pleased that most of my work schedules have been such that I’m not available to go to PTA meetings) When I was a kid I could go to a town event (the fireworks & carnival they had on & around 4th of July for example) & I’d barely see anyone I knew at all- to see someone I knew was an event to be remembered- of course- now when I go home I see familiar faces every time.

In the stands on May 25th I saw women I’d worked with at my current job & in the clothing factory I worked in 8 years ago.  I saw guys who had played softball with my ex & run rescue squad calls with him. People who I knew from the stores & through Colleen from both 1993 & 1994 & the first time I came here back in 1987. (I saw Colleen later on -after the graduation- in the crowd. )

They handed the diplomas out & we all filtered outside- I – in a throwback to my father’s ideas when I was a child & a teenager (dragging him to concerts)- insisted that we sit in the chairs & wait until the majority of the crowd was outside before we went out- much to 11 & 8’s dismay- they were very restless.

We tried to locate 18 & her crowd but they were not visible- I called her & they found us because we were standing under a tree. we took a bunch of pictures of 18 with everyone & then I took 11 & 8 home. 11 & I mixed up shortcake mix & when the teenagers arrived we put them in the oven. Everyone seemed to enjoy the strawberry shortcakes very well. Then they decided to go swimming. (the young crowd that is- I wasn’t about to do so & 11 & 8 were rather annoyed with me that I wouldn’t go.

They found something else fun to do & I settled down in the hammock to read my book for awhile-when I first got in I overbalanced & fell right out the other side of the hammock- only my pride was bruised – but that was quite enough & I sulked & read for a little while- soon enough 11 & 8 found me having peace & quiet & felt they had to do something about that- as in they got in the hammock with me & we all talked for an hour or so.

The ‘big kids’ came back around 8 laughing because they’d gone ‘chunky dunking’ When I asked what that was they told me they’d all gotten naked in the river where they’d been (not on a back road either- in full sight of a fairly main road) & because all 3 girls could not be called svelte they decided it couldn’t be called skinny dipping so they re-named it chunky dunking.

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