#4 was fully graduated from grade school Friday night. All the ceremony and pagentry and speechifying and people dressed nice (I’ll eventually get a picture of #4 up, but he wore his Full Formal kilt and stuff. Of course he did. It was Expected.) With a graduating class of 17, it was short (ish…an hour total) and there was much serenading and bagpipery as well. It’s a Presbyterian school, so that was appropriate.
I am not, to be honest, exactly sure how I feel about it all. With the other boys, there was another one behind them still to come. This one is It. The Final Boy. Next up will come The Grandpunkin, since he’s the first of the next generation. That’s another 16 years off. I think the dominant emotion, for me, was sorrow that Himself wasn’t here. All the people were saying “Thanks, Mom and Dad!” in their speeches. Even the divorced families had both parents there. And here I was. Not entirely alone, as my parents and brother were here. (Himself’s parents wanted to be here, but for health reasons couldn’t travel. Today #4 is driving the 3 hours north to see them)
I have settled in with the whole idea of being Just Me, but Friday was a struggle to keep contained and smile, because Friday wasn’t supposed to be All About Me. It was #4’s big day and I wanted it to stay that way.
Whew, y’all. 4 kids raised and educated and 3 of them out on their own and the 4th one has Good Plans. It’s all a little bit dizzifying. No more of the obligation to get someone up, fed and out the door by 8. I can cook when I want to and not cook when I don’t. If he’s hungry he can cook for himself. He’ll get no more allowance, since he has 2 jobs. Unless he asks for help, he’s on his own. All I ask for is a time when he’ll return so I can know if the sounds at 2am are him or someone who isn’t supposed to be there. I already have him trained to announce himself as he comes in the door, just so I don’t greet him with a loaded .45. True story. It’s happened before.
All this, with Himself not here, made me alternate between sad and angry and bewildered. For the most part, 2 years and 3 months of widowhood has become normal, but every now and then there will be a milestone: the birth of Grandpunkin, the graduation of #4; or a decision to be made of which I feel ill prepared: Is that car noise important? Do I need to cancel a particular service? That’s when I most keenly feel the loss. Those milestones are the ones we discussed celebrating. How would mark them? Who would be invited to the party? Won’t it be fun to sit on the front porch together and watch the festivities? I can still do those things, sort of. There will still be a party and people will still be invited, but different ones this time, to some extent. The front porch will still be employed for sitting, but I doubt there will be anyone who’s hand I can hold. Oh well. It is what it is.
Friday after graduation, #4 and 2 of his brothers (#1 had to work) enjoyed the bottle of Scotch #4 brought back from Scotland. Himself loved him some good whiskey, so they drank in his memory. I choose to be elsewhere, because it seemed something they needed to do together, without me hovering around. One of #3’s friends (who we’ve known since they were in middle school together) also came over and joined in. Quite the guy thing. He stayed the night (as we have many recliners that are comfortable for sleeping), as usually happens when they have someone over. (there’s a different one in a recliner even now). Himself liked it when they’d bring a friend here, as it was important to him that these young men feel welcome and comfortable.
So, while I am very happy about the sort of young man #4 has turned into, and also that he actually has graduated (I learned never to make assumptions about such things), I am sad and even a little bit angry that Himself didn’t sit next to me in the sanctuary during the ceremony. There was no dry sarcasm about the Valedictoran’s Speech (which was actually fun to listen to. She gave a shoutout to #4 and thanked him for not blowing up the school “even though everyone knew he could”) (his senior project was on explosives).
I’m having to think about my own future now. I still have a couple of semesters left in school. I’ve doing some volunteer work and wanting to get more involved with that. The yard is an absolute disaster and everytime the lawnmower starts working, someone does something and it quits. #2 is moving back out soon. There are a whole bunch of transitions happening all over the place and while I know that this is the way life goes, it is more upheavily when you don’t have the person on whom you relied for providing a degree of stability. I have to make my own stability now and I’m still not used to it or happy about it.