The Latest from Lola's Diner

Saturday, May 30, 2009

right - handshake, left - diploma

Those words are a graduate's mantra from graduation practice until they walk away with the diploma in their hands. The teachers drill it into their heads.

We arrived early to get good seats, and seats that I could tolerate (ie not the top row of the bleachers). First row, across from the stage. Perfect! (Ex-husband and his girlfriend had 2nd row from the top of the bleachers.) Graduates had to wait in the gym. 2 teachers were posted as "gatekeepers" blocking the way to the gym and the area was roped off. I waited until they were occupied and snuck past and kept walking. "Look like you know where you're going and keep walking", that's my motto. I found our son kind of pacing in the group of kids...girls squealing, wearing hoochie mama dresses and boys ineptly putting on their gowns and tassels. None of his friends were there yet. I think he was happy to see me.
Son: "That's 'so and so' walking in."
Me: "Well if you're friends with him, say hi." (Isn't that just like a Mom?)
Son: "Nooo, I just know who he is."
Me: "Oh, ok."
He's pacing, and I'm shuffling and stretching because of my back.
Son: "??????" "??????" "??????" (mumbling).
Me.: "What are you saying?"
Son: "I'm just trying to remember."
Me: "Remember what?"
Son: "Right - handshake, left - diploma."
Me: "What?"
Son: "Right - handshake, left - diploma." (It was so hard not to laugh!)
Me: "Don't over think it! R E L A X! You'll do fine."! The poor kid! He was repeating it like a mantra and he wasn't the only one. He was also stressing, wondering if his dad would make it back from dinner to see him graduate. We chatted for awhile and I taught him an old yiddish word, "mah nishtana", 'why should things be any different?' (I'm not Jewish, I just know a number of yiddish words. I used them to impress my ex-mother-in-law.) After awhile I asked if he wanted me to leave, since I was one of only a couple of parents in the gym. He told me he could see I was in pain and I could go if I wanted. I said no, 'I want to know, do you want me to stay until a friend comes?' He said stay, so I did. About 30 minutes later one of his friends showed up, I snapped a photo and went back to sit with Anastasia. I think I did the right thing. I may have made him uncool because his mommy was standing with him, but that may have been slightly less uncool than the pacing. I don't think I've ever seen him so nervous.

There were 3 Valedictorians, 3 nearly identical speeches, with the words in just a slightly different order. They had awards for Reading, English, Math, Science, History, Art, Athletics, Band, Phys Ed, Chorus and Spanish. then there were 2 awards named after old mucky mucks.

Here is our son after graduation. Doesn't he look so much more relaxed?
Lola's Diner


Stephanie B said...

He does indeed.


john said...

he definitly does look more relaxed. I did laugh at the left hand diploma So typical. But i gotta tell you, i am mostly impressed that he let you stay. 8th grade and having mommy hanging out with him....he sure of must of been nervous, the poor kid.

Megryansmom said...

Congrats to the graduate!

Lin said...

Oh, he is soooo cute, Lola!! Well, don't tell him I said THAT! It's funny how you stayed with him until a friend came--I do the same with my kids.

What's the deal with 3 Valedictorian's?? I think they ought to do away with that and Em's the Valedictorian at her graduation. It's just a bone of contention for everyone but the winner. I still feel bad for the other girl. But note: Em's speech ROCKS. Not boring. Maybe I'll post it. Guess who helped write it??

Your son looks so relieved and grown up! I'm so glad the evening was nice for him and he figured out the right/left thingy!

I am Harriet said...

Too funny. Everybody survived.
I also hung with my kids and I still do......until they start cramping my style.

Patricia Rockwell said...

Congrats to him, Lola! Yes, the graduation ritual is almost like a choreographed dance routine, isn't it?

Lola said...

@ Stephanie B - He was like a different kid after the ceremony. So nervous before.

@ John - I was impressed too, I figured he'd tell me to leave, but I think the stressing about his dad really bothered him and that's why he wanted me to stay.

@ megryansmom - Thank you!

@ Lin - He is a cutie! Last year with my daughter the gym was filled with parents. This year they were definitely more militant and more regimented. I agree, all those stupid awards should be eliminated. There were just too many at his school.

@ Harriet - Cramping your style? Lol!

@ Patricia - Thank you! It was definitely very choreographed. I guess it has to be to get everyone in and out quickly.

carlota said...

Congrats to the graduate and the proud mom. Best wishes to the graduate!

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife said...

Congrats to the graduate! :)

Dorothy said...

congratulations to you mom and your son..

It's a proud day...blessings with his future.

Dorothy from grammology

JD at I Do Things said...

Aw, what a sweet story. Congrats to your son -- he DEFINITELY looks both relaxed and relieved in the "After" shot.

So I'm assuming all his rehearsing paid off?

Auntie E said...

Congratulation to your son. It is very nice to see them complete School. He does looks relaxed in the second photo. Any plans for the future?Maybe you'll tell us later:-)

Lola said...

@ Carlotta, Storm, Dorothy - Thank you!

@ JD - Yes it did!

@ Auntie E - He graduated from 8th grade. He's got golf this summer, then on to 9th grade. If graduation was this nerve wracking, I don't even want to think how his first day as a freshman will be.

DCRose said...

Congratulations! DCRose

schizoshrink said...


by the way i followed u.. hope u follow me too.. thanks!

Shauni said...

Congrats to the handsome young man.. just think now you have a highschool male on your hands.. aren't I just too sweet to point that out.

He let you stay because he knew no matter what mom would be there and he needed you..

Chameleon said...

Congratulations to a very accomplished (and cute) young man and to his mom... I stayed with my girl when she graduated from high school until the kids lined up - I think it was sweet that he was concerned about you enough to tell you to go sit down and only gave in to "needing mommy" when you let him know that you wanted to be there if he needed you.

Rosie said...

He certainly does look much more relaxed! That first picture looks like he was not in the mood to be taking ANY pictures!

They grow up so fast don't they? My baby boy is going into the 10th grade. Congratulations to your baby boy and to you! He couldn't have done it without you, Mom!

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