I am pleased to report that both CJ and I have both survived his high school graduation. The whole process was as tiring as childbirth for me, and I have just woken up after sleeping for three days.
The ceremony achieved a perfect balance of non-pretentious tradition and individuality - four musical numbers performed by Julliard-bound kids and students whose rock bands perform regularly at the Roxy. The final piece – Somewhere Over the Rainbow – a cello and ukelele duet, was the most moving and just the thought of it still makes me tear up.
Our school doesn't have sals or vals…Any interested student can give a speech if the headmaster and deans approve. The three who spoke were clever and articulate, and collectively captured the strong feelings everyone has for our quirky school. The main speaker, selected by student vote, was the legendary math teacher/ping pong champion who CJ the mathematician never had as an instructor…I found myself thinking what if about all h.s. opportunities he missed – (like art, drama and film…don't get me started). But in general, he had an serendipitiously perfect experience: exposure to problem solving and self awareness, activities he was passionate about, close bonds with teachers, lifelong friends.
CJ sat on stage between a girl who has been his buddy since pre-school, once a tiny waif with a lisp, and a boy he's known since birth, who iconoclastically wore no shoes or clothing under his robe. We had a perfect view of our son, and the 14.7 megapixel snapshot of him in his cap and gown is now forever immortalized on my Facebook page, along with dozens of emotional comments from my oldest friends.
Hugs…photos…encounters with past teachers and countless alumni…then dinner with our whole extended family…platters of kobe beef, black cod and spicy tuna on crispy rice. Seven other families with seniors chose to celebrate at the same place, and one mom treated all of the grads who came of age that evening to shots of sake.
NEXT: GRAD NIGHT