Decompressing from Harley's Graduation Weekend. Emotionally and physically wrunged out from the eat, drink and repeat. And ploppy tears. Bubs is off. High School graduation is huge here in the US, probably bigger than graduating from Varsity.
The day after graduation, looking on Facebook, I had major posting envy. Another mother (of a girl) had posted gorgeous photos: bright, light, colorful with all the extended family lined up and looking suitably congratulatory. The girl graduate had clearly organised all the family to meet in one spot after the ceremony. Everyone in my family loathes my taking photos and most of my snaps turned out blotchy. There were no group photos (or actually any more than three people) "That's the difference between having a girl and a boy," said a friend.
|Harley, Mum and Dad - our "Group " photo, minus the eight others|
Mum and Dad arrived from NZ, Kevin's parents came from Pennsylvania and his brother from Denver.
|Harley entering Baccalaureate (Graduation) Mass|
|Baccalaureate Mass in the gym. I'm not particularly religious but it was very moving and many rolling down tears. The High School years go in a flash|
|After mass: Harley , third from left, with his friends .|
There was loads of eating at regular intervals. Kept going to the gym. Mum and Dad noted that I would not have to have to go to the gym if I washed the windows or did the housework myself. Something to think about.
And loads of Mexican food for lunch
Thank goodness for the umbrella on the deck.
We walked the seven mile Bay Bridge. Despite a soupcon of a smile in this photo, Cy, 11, called it "the worst afternoon of my life."
|Tallulah, Kevin and Cy. Having fun yet?|
|Dad walking the Bay Bridge|
And then there was the graduation ceremony in the beautiful art deco Paramount Theatre
- where the orchestra pit pops up from below stage, oldstyle.
|Harley (right) and his friend Tyler|
|The art deco Paramount Theatre in Oakland|
We had fried chicken at home afterwards. No fancy dancy brunch for us.
|Grandma Patty from Pennsylvania and Grandma Madeleine from NZ.|
|Cousin Janelle and Lila, Harley and Grandma Patty|
That night we got together with 10 other families for a big party in a school gym - we were going to be 200 people in total. The other mothers are awesome organisers. I'm happy to be a follower and do as I'm told. However there was one soupcon of confusion - and it ended up that I didn't order the 30 pizzas. Panic stations people! But this is America and Cybelles can make those pizzas in 30 mins! Crisis averted.... My life is a one exciting rollercoaster, tell ya.
|Setting up our party for 200|
|Apparently you can have anything printed on MandMs|
|Mum and Dad hit the dance floor first. Their moves span most of the styles, from classic to jaunty to experimental.|
The next day was downtime (sort of) and Steve
showed the whole family around their 11,000 sq ft home which was very generous (Pottery Barn was doing a shoot there so we had to careful of the cords). The garden has really come in - look at that wonderful artichoke plant - and they have some new chicks to add to their flock of 26.
|Steve and Josh's garden has really come in|
|Steve showing us some of the new chicks|
Well that was graduation weekend. The whole senior year is stressful here in the US, unbelievably stressful, even if, like us, you'd vowed not to be sucked into the mad vortex of college applicationarama (Where is your child going, what are their SATs, PSATs GPAs, what Extracurriculars?) Then last minute we got sucked in, no question. Employing what feels like a whole village to guide us through it all. There's exams, writing the essay, finding something that's happened to you so you can write the essay, visiting schools, applying to schools, visiting more schools, keeping up your grades and organising all the grad parties. I always thought it was weird when people ask parents: what high school do you go to? Now I know. Because we're all doing senior year, but parents are doing it without the dewy skin and full head of hair.
I felt ten years younger the day after the graduation ceremony. And then realised, "Gosh he really is leaving home."
Harley. Who spent hours as a toddler crawling up just one part of the climbing frame in Kensington Park, London, who screamed with laughter when Kevin recited the Italian soccer team every night, who drove us crazy with his insistence on singing Wheels On The Bus including all the names of his pre-school class. Who arrived at his Oakland public school with a posh London accent and extremely shy but by the end of the week wailed: "Oh God, not another bloody Learning Centre!" Who at age five got baby Tallulah out of her cot in the morning and fed Cy his cereal and made up games for all of them. Who played whiffle ball in the backyard with friends every Friday night, then almost killed us with worry at high school wanting his independence and his own life. Who made us so proud with his politeness and kindness to those who needed his help. Who has stayed friends with his classmates from when he was five years old, through all their academic pressures and parties and disappointments and fun times. Yes, all those Harleys are leaving and I have been exhausted and relieved and happy for him and
so, so ready for him to go. But today I'm just sad. Because I just realised he really is leaving.
|Cy and Harley, 15 years ago|
I'm sobbing - love that kid!!!ReplyDelete
Right back at ya, kidDelete
That Harley sounds like a fine young man whose always going to appreciate he has a fine mother....despite the pizza fumble.ReplyDelete
Love the pics and the Grandmas look FAB!
Talluleh and Cy: you're next...and let's not forget about Cecy.
Of course - Cecy!Delete
I loved this post so much - Congratulations to Harley and to all of you for making it through his High School years. I've always been mystified as to why graduation was such a big deal in the US, and your post has explained why it is such a big deal a little. I think when you have a definite final point - which going away to college is in the US - it's that bit harder emotionally. I remember moving out of home without fanfare aged 19. If it had a lot of momentum leading up to it I probably would have felt like it was a bigger thing that I did at the time.ReplyDelete
Good luck with the college applications - that sounds pretty angst inducing frankly, and as for washing windows and doing housework instead of gym going… I think you've got the right idea!
Hi Heidi, in high school, the parents and the kids know each other and are still involved and organising everything. Parents tell me once they get to college you don't know any or many of the parents.Delete
Mind you, there were nearly 300 kids went up on stage to receive their diplomas at Harley's high school, I wasn't a bit bored, it was fascinating to see them walk across and their friends cheer for them - and the incredibly high heels of the girls.
In fact there were so many kids , they actually gave them empty folders rather than diplomas as they would not have been able to organise to have each correct one to the students.
Yes I gave the idea some consideration and feel I should stick to the gym...better gossip there
Congratulations Mom, you did your job and you did it well. He will come home and he will bring every item of clothing he owns for you to wash. Even if he'll only be home for a week. It's a bit of a struggle to let them go face the world but he's ready.ReplyDelete
We will have the washer and drier ready and emptied for him, LOLDelete
Congratulations to Harley (and his mum!) such big changes! My baby is heading to university in Montreal this fall and my other is moving out, so am seeing empty nest syndrome looming. Fabulous pictures- we are not a family to run around as well en masse for pictures. And how much do you look like your mother? Wow - how lucky you know how beautiful you will continue to be as you age!ReplyDelete
Cannot believe your kids are so grown up! I will pass your compliments onto Mum - she will be thrilled!Delete
Oh I know. Oh god I know. You capture the whole whirlwind of senior year and graduation so perfectly here, the roller coaster of emotions, the feeling that everybody's somehow doing it "better" (believe me, Facebook albums or not, they're just as flummoxed). And then the ineffable sadness when the roller coaster stops and you realize high school is over and your kid is really leaving home. He sounds like such a great kid. This sadness is part of it all. You'll both be fine by the first visit home from college. You'll settle into the new shape of things. And then you'll have to go thtough it again with each of your other kids! And college is a damn flash too! Enjoy this summer with your college graduate. Feel all the feels and know it's all okay, it's inevitable, it's love. And I really liked your pictures!ReplyDelete
Thank you! Always good to get perspective from someone like you has been through it all and come out smilingDelete
Hard, but not 08102ReplyDelete
I love that in America everything is done large! Our grads here are typically boring in comparison, no surprise there. I had a huge argument with my son just before his high school grad so we have to make up for that when he graduates Uni next year.ReplyDelete
I welled up reading this because it's so hard to see them go. Harley sounds like such a fine young man! Big hug.
Was talking today with a friend about arguments during the stressful grad weekend - esp with the husbands!Delete
Congratulations, looks like everyone had a ball. We had loads planned for our daughter's graduation, then my husband got orders for Turkey and we had to fly out the day after graduation.ReplyDelete
We did it big for her University graduation instead.
Wow Turkey - love that place. (First of all I thought you meant actual cooked Turkey, the bird, that would be an undertaking indeed)Delete
Congrats! Yes to you as well :)ReplyDelete
It's a big deal indeed and a very exciting time. It's sad as well but for my friends and I it was the first time we realised how important our family was to us BC before that you take it all for granted...have a fun summer with the whole family!
What a wonderful time....and of course you'll be sad...but I agree with 37paddington....they come, they go, they visit, write and then you are empty nesters and start the next chapter...and its all good!..love your moms fashion look with the ankle boots!xxReplyDelete
Thanks Libby - will tell her that. She is the opposite to me - this outfit is 20 years old and she's kept it.Delete
This was a roller coaster of a post for me - huge congrats to your Harley and to you! Tears at the end though! My daughter left home this year and I was a wreck. I cried so much everyone just ignored me in the end…ReplyDelete
Can't imagine coping with all the hoopla of an American graduation but really interesting to understand it more.
And your mother is a stunner!
Thanks Jane - will tell her that!Delete
Yes many many parties and thingies accompany the end of high school here
Also congrats to you too!Delete
I have TEARS just READING this.......I KNOW I KNOW I have been there twice now...............the whole experience is VERY emotional.YOU have a lot to LOOK forward too...................One down TWO TO GO!ReplyDelete
I can't BELIEVE you forgot to order the MAIN COURSE!!!!!!!HYSTERICAL!
I really mourned when my 'Harley' left home. Used to sit in his bedroom and cry. And he used to drive me mad!ReplyDelete
Harley is a really lovely boy. Be proud.
Yes, who will drive me mad when he goes? Oh yeah, there's three others auditioning for that role....
Happy graduation (to both of you!) I find that time is just flying by now that we are out of those everlasting toddler years. I got all verklempt reading your post!ReplyDelete
The high school years they do fly by, but those toddler mornings were like centuries (though i would like to go back for a morning with the wisdom and freshness of a better night's sleep)
What a fantastic post. Congrats! It's so nice the grandparents were able to be there. It looks like a me a good time was had by all.ReplyDelete