Monday, May 11, 2015

The Story of My Life

My desk this morning

Yesterday was Commencement at Small College. It was supposed to start at 10 a.m. with baccalaureate services, during which I was to accompany the special music. Except that I thought the services began at 10:30, so I showed up at 10:10. Sure I was plenty early, I stopped in my office to pre-order salads for my photographers, and strolled into the baccalaureate at 10:20, giving the poor soloist 20 minutes of discomfort as he wondered if his accompanist was going to show up at all. But I slid in just in time and he sang so beautifully and with such heart that he left the audience in tears. I basked in the reflected glory. It was wonderful.

Those salads I was trying to order? Turns out the restaurant was only serving a buffet for Mother's Day, so no salads for us. But wait! Wendy's has some really good salads, which would cost us half of the restaurant price, and Husband would deliver them to the office doorstep. Hey! That's great.

Commencement was to be in the football stadium and we were all in our places ready for it to begin when, just 10 minutes before "Pomp and Circumstance" was to strike up, a thunderstorm flared 30 miles away. You don't take chances with Kansas thunderstorms, especially when a couple of thousand people are sitting on metal bleachers on a hillside, so at the absolute last possible moment the ceremony was moved inside. This is not an inconsequential decision--we're a Small College, but going into the fieldhouse meant all of the schedules, all of the stage accoutrements, all the graduates, all the faculty, all the grandmothers and the cheerers and the whistlers, all had to be shifted. There were infinite opportunities for tears and bad feelings and screw-ups, but you know what? People were AWESOME. The plant operations folks acted as if they did this every day and had the stage and flags and sound equipment moved lickety-split. The people whose schedules had been rearranged made momentarily irritated faces, then said "Oh, well. Kansas." The pictures were taken and tears shed and good feelings abounded. After three ceremonies my feet were tired but I was so very, very proud of everyone involved.

Commencement always falls on Mother's Day, which is wonderful for those mothers seeing their children graduate and celebrating that accomplishment but kind of a bummer for those of us who leave the house early and come home late and exhausted. Having my sons in four different states meant that none would be near enough to give me a hug. But then Husband walked into the room where I had my aching feet propped up in the recliner and handed me a laptop, and the four Boys gave me the gift of my first ever Google video chat. For a whole hour I laughed and talked, then I sat back and watched them interact, which is the best thing ever.

Not one single thing in the day turned out the way I thought it would, and in spite of my unfulfilled plans, everything turned out exactly the way it should.

It's the story of my life.

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