Tis the Season for Graduation – Upward and Onward

May 25, 2017

We are in the season of graduation.  Preschool, kindergarten, fifth grade, high school, college…It feels like doors are closing on chapters of lives everywhere.  One of my nephews graduated from college a couple of weeks ago, one of my nieces from high school last weekend, a dear and sweet friend’s son graduated from fifth grade.  And, my two youngest babies graduated from preschool last night.

Three years of preschool.  Gone.  Not to mention, my eldest is three years post preschool and I do not even remember his graduation.  That is probably because I had two toddlers with me. 😉

E Graduation

C graduation

Remember that song Sara Evans sings, “you can’t fence time…”  I thought about it here and now I cannot help but think of it almost every day.

Tears are lingering on parents’ cheeks everywhere, as they sit through graduation ceremonies and rituals – rites of passage marking the completion of an educational segment.  Tears of joy.  Tears of time.  Tears of not knowing what comes next.  Tears of age.  Tears of routines that are ending.  Tears of friendships that will be distanced because there won’t be the catalyst of the playground at school to make moms linger afterwards to converse and share life.  Tears of seasons ending.  Tears of happiness.  Tears of accomplishment.  Tears of thankfulness.

The little ones are moving upwards and onwards.  Moms and Dads embrace it joyfully and thankfully and even sometimes with relief, but most often also with tears.  Or, at least a shaky voice if only for just a moment.

I wonder if Kleenex sales rise in the months of May and June?

In reflection of the graduation rituals I’ve experienced over the last couple of weeks, I realize that they don’t mark doors closing on a phase of life.  (Although I am pretty sure our preschool director wouldn’t let my almost third grader come back to preschool, so I guess it is closed in one way).  Instead, each completion of a milestone is the foundation block for the next milestone.  So on and so forth.

Upwards and onwards.

As the pedestal grows with each day, each year, and with each graduation that bookends a segment of life – so does the child.  They then have the luxury of being able to peer back down at the blocks beneath their feet to see what has formed them into who they are at that moment.  They can feel the texture.  They can feel the sturdiness of it all.  They can feel if the footing isn’t right and make the necessary changes.

It is also much like a screen door.  It can be shut, but the breeze still blows in and the inside air ebbs and flows outwards too.  Mixing together.  But, the view in and out is slightly obstructed by the mesh of the screen.

My eldest sister, who is the mother of ten beautiful children, has been through 12 major graduations for her children so far (7 high school graduations and 5 college). She has more on the horizon.  Yet, she is still breathing and thriving. Amazingly, she hasn’t cried herself sick. She seems to gather herself together to push the next one out of the nest with as much confidence and love as the ones prior.

So, if anyone is out there gasping for air as they look ahead to the next step for their cap-clad child, it will be okay.  Ask my sister.  She knows.

My sister is also pursuing her PhD and will have her own graduation to attend in a couple of years.  Upwards and onward always.  Just remember that the ability to put blocks on the pedestal doesn’t end.  Would you please remind me of that too?

Well, our wonderful evening of songs being sung by cute girls dressed in pretty dresses and sweet boys wearing button down shirts (except my son because he refused to wear the shirt I purchased and he approved just for this occasion and instead insisted on wearing a golf shirt) came to a close.  I learned that my daughter wants to be a mom and my son wants to work at Carolina Cones.

Preschool Graduation Ceremony

I admire both of their aspirations.  Who wouldn’t want to do both of those things?

We arrived home afterwards and the kids were strung out from the stage performance and the parental approved indulgence of Starbursts, Chic-Fil-A and icecream.  Exhaustion and sugar are a deadly combination.  Special treats turned rancid and reared their ugly heads in the form of screams and cries over the insignificant goings on of bedtime.

Then, picture a frustrated (and tired) mother preaching about thankfulness and about how the wonderful night is now ending poorly with screaming about having lights taken away for sleep time.  That same mother continues to tell her children, in a stern monologue in the darkness, that the spoils of the evening were poorly chosen by her and that next time she will think twice before making such reckless choices.

I am pretty sure that in that moment, my sweet daughter, was silently wishing she never aspired to be a mom.

But – next time?  Memo:  there is no next time preschool graduation.  Whoa is me.  Someone throw me that tissue box and help me process my guilt.

Thankfully, while time does not stop, it does help heal, forgive and it also helps us forget some things.  We shall see about all of that when they wake up!  Maybe I will put some Starburst on their breakfast plates.

Anyway, as you immerse yourself in the graduation festivities of May and June – just think about those pedestals growing stronger before your eyes with your child perched soundly on top.  And, if you pause for a moment and wonder why the candidates for graduation wear a gown and the odd cap (that is often incompatible with hair), read on to get a little history of the mortarboard and gown.

Journey on friends and be encouraged that the construction of your pedestal isn’t finished… if you don’t want it to be.

xo, Melissa the mamabrain at mamabrains

History of the Graduation Cap and Gown

When universities started forming in the 12th and 13th centuries, the church was highly influential.  Thus, students and teachers wore clerical-like clothing.  Oxford and Cambridge were the first schools that had graduation attire and suggested that everyone wear long gowns during ceremonies to create unity.  Hoods were worn to keep heads warm.  Today, hoods are merely decorative and are representative of one’s field of study.

As far as the graduation hat – it has changed over the years, but the most prevalent style is the mortarboard cap.  It is believed to have been developed in the 15th century evolving from hats worn by Catholic clerics, scholars and professors.

Graduation Caps in the Air

The origin of the cardboard square shape is a topic of debate.  Many historians believe it represents the shape of a book or that it is meant to represent the shape of the quad at Oxford.  The name, mortarboard, comes from the flat board used by bricklayers to hold mortar.  Thus, some believe the reason for the square shape is that it represents the mortar board of a master workman.

So, now you can pat your graduate on their mortarboard and have an idea as to why on Earth they are wearing such an odd cap on their heads accompanied by a gown.

Journey on!

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