Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Well, that's a nice contrast, don't you think? I left you with a photo of my beamish four-year-old Boy#4 on his first day of school. (Beamish = beaming with happiness, optimism, anticipation.)

Now I'm back, with a photo of my beamish 22-year-old Boy#4 on the first day of the rest of his life.

Oh, I know, I know. Every day is the first day of the rest of your life, and blah, blah, blah. But there's something about graduation from college that is a mile marker carved in stone. I thought about this last week in the moments after Four had received his diploma. (And I had plenty of time to think--in contrast to Small College's sweet but meaningful 48-minute Commencement ceremonies, it took nearly three hours for all the graduates at Four's university to stride across the stage, and that was only one of three ceremonies. Yikes.)

Boy#4 stood there in the foyer of the fieldhouse, diploma in one hand and phone in the other as he called his freshman roommates who had agreed to meet for a post-ceremonial photo. He had been extraordinarily fortunate in his first housing assignment: Five of the six who were in the original suite are still in the same posse, and all graduated on time in a tough curriculum. Four of these graduated with perfect grade point averages, an accomplishment shared by only 41 of Big University's thousands of undergraduates. Four is perfectly fine with not being one of those 4.0 students--"I might not have been an engineer at all if I hadn't been rooming with them," he says.

He bear-hugged his older brothers who were students at the same time he was. They were the ones who showed up at the hospital after his bike accident, who drove to the all-night pharmacy for pain pills and slept on the couch so he could have a bed while he recuperated.

People ask me from time to time why none of the Boys attended Small College.

Small College is a terrific school, I tell these people, but Husband and I agreed that we wanted our kids to go away to school. The college years are the halfway house to adulthood and it's healthy for them to live where they can spread their wings and find their own communities away from parents who are almost compulsively predisposed to fix things.

Boy#4 graduated with a college degree last week, but he also graduated with good friends, good coping skills, and knowledge that comes from relationships as well as from classes. He's ready for whatever is next.

We all are beamish, and we are thankful.

1 comment:

  1. Way to go #4! Today at my Rotary club we had a program where the entire club got to meet all of our scholarship recipients who are high school seniors headed to college next year. It was so heart-warming to see that bunch of bright eyed kiddos ready to spread their wings and soar. It restored my faith in our future.