Friday, May 25, 2007

valedictorain schmaledictorian. they're selling bottled water for $4?!

Graduation 2007 rah rah rah. It came and went in a flash. The ceremony was rife with the most boring numbers which of course made it a special day for *everyone* - During the Community Service award skit, I found myself getting lost in thought about Niece, who was nothing but a blur amongst a sea of purplish frocks. We could tell it was her because she was the only one who stood shyly hunched, clutching her hands together at her heart, pretending that she didn't see us all jumping up and down, screaming and waving as if we were at a U2 show. I think U2 and Billy Idol are the only two shows that turned me into an absolute animal. Anyway, we were all acting like animals. We were like kittens at the pound, fighting for attention of the one person looking for a cat that day. She, a tall and almost willowy girl, seemed slight in stature compared to everyone around her. I assumed that Niece may not be entirely ready for this, and if someone were to instruct her to run back home, she'd gladly do it. Like her own Aunt MH was, so looooong ago.

But I was deluding myself again. No, turns out this is not a girl like me, terrified of the secrets held within the overwhelming adult world. Now I suspectd that this ceremony was nothing but a blink of her eye. It was the street-side gate of the white picket fence, and it was but a short jaunt to the threshold of the one ceremony which she believes will propel her into the bliss for which she has been born.

Back in reality, I waved, gave up, sat down, got annoyed by someone blowing one of those damn horn-in-a-can things, stood up, waved, gave up; and at times recalled obscure memories of Niece as a child or as a baby doing something cute or mischievous or brilliant. I would dissolve to tears as this person, this non-child began to take shape in my mind. It's over, I realized. She has that punkass boyfriend who is really a good kid ( I mean guy? ) I guess, so don't get me wrong. She has familiar hopes and dreams. She is, and has been, living her life without me recognizing at ALL that she is growing up. The days of this happy "wise Aunt MH teaching moments" were over.

In fact they have been over since PunkAssBoyfriend came into the picture, but of course I just think he's a great guy since her parents consider him part of the family at this point. Damn, it sounds like any teen's DREAM from fifty years ago. Hell, parents too. Wouldn't it be great to have a daughter married right out of high school? What a deal! And why have I been fighting it? They all get along much better than I ever did with X and anyone in his family. They'll all be very happy, I'm sure.

My disappointment did not only stem from losing the admiration and attention of one niece. It's also that I had such dreams for her. I thought for sure she'd be the next President. I have been buying savings bonds for almost 20 years so she can go to PARIS or LONDON, I don't care how it sounds. Yeah I know.

They are my dreams, not hers. As The Duchess pointed out I'd have been a whole lot better off thinking about ways to get myself anywhere but here. Maybe I wouldn't want to control everyone else's lives.

If I would have acted like I cared what Niece wanted, I might be another one of her little familial zombies, docile and trudging behind her instead of giving her some direction. Who is surprised that she found a guy to care for and dream about? What the hell else is there for a girl to do when I'm the only one telling her that she's going to be president someday?? Everybody knows nobody listens to MH and her outrageous ideas.

Ok, enough disappointment. The point has been made. Anyway, no time to think. We had to listen to a chronically out of key version of "Wind Beneath My Wings," the singing students' treat. I would have cried, had I been Bette Midler.

Finally, they began to call the names. As it grew closer to Niece's name and her row was released to march up to the stage set up in front of the brand new score board, I hopped to my feet. How was I going to get a picture from clear back in BFEEEEEE, I asked The Duchess, who was busy doing her best to prove that a Grandmother will endure the PAIN and discomfort of aluminum bleachers if it means she'll be able to see the blur of one of her descendants accept a decorative piece of paper. She looked at Niece's mother, who called to me, "She wants us all to sit in one area and scream as loudly as we can for her. That's what she wants." I sat back down, unwilling to mask my pout. I had come here for this crap? No way. I was going to get a picture.

I ignored everyone calling me as I flew down the bleachers to what resembled a cattle loading ramp, except it was packed with other people. I elbowed my way to the front, saying Niece's name politely so everyone knew that MY family was on her way UP.

Niece-blur was next. Make room, people! She waved. I think she waved at ME, but probably not. I snapped ever so many times- I'd be sure to come out with ONE good one! Right?

I ran back up to the bleachers where the brood had just settled back on their tired buns. Not a dry eye in the crowd. Except me. I had been way too busy trying to get a picture of (as it turns out) nothing, to carpe diem.

I told myself that it didn't matter because I had already used up three Kleen-exes while everyone else sat around gossiping. But as the principal got to the Ws, the Ys and the Zs, I couldn't help but notice that I'd missed something that I can never get back. I mentioned to the Duchess that I regretted what I'd just done. She said, "Oh MH, you missed us cry, we miss you cry, who cares. Really, why do you have to think about everything?" I wish I knew. Lack of medication?

When it was all over, Niece's mother tactfully suggested that The Duchess and I head home and catch up with Niece tomorrow at her Graduation Party. Nothing doing. No way was I leaving that bug-filled terrain without seeing her. The family heaved a huge sigh as we all searched for Niece at the 50 yard line, finally spotting her talking to some other kids I mean young adults, not even looking for us at all. She was the picture of young energy, hope, laughter and happiness. I snapped away with my worthless POS old fuji digi-thing, and emotionally kicked myself for not just bringing my old faithful dinosaur friend 35mm Pentax... I kick myself now, as I peruse the equally worthless fuji-blur-pics.

We were all given brief hugs by the grad, who only had eyes for PAB of course, who was staring back, impatiently waiting to whisk the princess off to whatever parties were already getting started.

Tomorrow we will be given the opportunity to shower the young lady with gifts and praise and then it will all be over.

The Duchess was so eloquent in her dry-eyed summary of the evening: "One down, six to go"

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