Recently, Chris and I drove two and one-half hours from Little Rock to Fayetteville, where our state’s flagship university, the University of Arkansas is located. Our first grandchild, Kennedy Lyn Hill was scheduled to graduate with a master’s degree. Her mom had made every effort to impress to celebrate this event. Along with Chris and I, there were family members from other parts of our state making the drive to Fayetteville, some farther than two and one-half hours. The ceremony was scheduled for 8:30 am on Saturday morning, a bit early as weekend events go.
You might think I’m strange, since I’ve only sat through one graduation ceremony of my own. That was high school. My mother was excited about the prospect of her oldest child graduating from high school. She some how came up with the money to pay for the class ring, the cap and gown and all the other entrapments that accompany the pomp and circumstance associated with graduation. As far back as I can remember, I have never cared much for pomp and circumstance, especially when I’m at the center of it. However, I couldn’t tell my mother how I felt about the graduation event. There were others in the family, who were looking forward to seeing me walking across the stage to receive my diploma.
When I went off to college, I worked hard to finish all requirements for graduation within four years. That accomplishment alone was sufficient for me. I had no powerful desire to walk across the stage. I was far more interested in looking for a job with my newly minted degree, versus submitting myself to a graduation ceremony. I left my college alma matter before the scheduled pomp and circumstance, and I requested that my degree be mailed to me. Nineteen years later, I avoided the pomp and circumstance again when I completed my requirements for receiving a master’s degree. Chris and I had been married for a little over six years by then. She, of course, couldn’t understand why I turned down the chance to walk across the stage again. It’s difficult to explain to anyone who’s not an introvert why…
Enough about me. This piece is more about the passing of time. The point in one’s life when they see that generation two tiers down from them accomplishing things that make you proud. I felt proud seeing Kennedy walk across that stage with hundreds of others. That event was one of many that I view as proof of countless blessings life has and continues to send my way. Of course, I’ve had two of my children to graduate college, one to receive a master’s degree, and I was proud of those life events. However, to see a grandchild receive a master’s degree is something altogether different. This is another one of those blessings I’ve been around to see despite my living with cancer for the last twenty-two years-plus.
Kenney’s next academic journey will be to peruse a PhD. Chris is working towards getting one of those herself. I suppose pomp and circumstance is available for us at any age. God’s will, I’ll be sitting in the audience for both Chris and Kennedy when they receive their PhDs.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.