Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What is the sound of one parent clapping?

Pet peeve #27: graduation ceremonies.

Since becoming a mother, I've noticed a curious phenomenon: after every supposed milestone, the powers that be organize and hold a graduation ceremony. Kindergarten, Sunday School, Tae Kwon Do class, you name it, there's always some kind of ceremony parents must endure in order to encourage and propel our children on to the next level.

On Sunday, I drove up to get LegoGuy after his leadership conference and sat through yet another graduation ceremony. The ballroom was packed with anxious parents, eager to collect their kids and get the hell out of there. But no, first we had to sit through multiple speeches, a slide show with rockin' music accompaniment, and the handing out of certificates.

Thirty minutes later, hands numb from obligatory clapping, we were free. Lego talked non-stop on the 2 hour drive home about his experience. He had a good time. The info was somewhat boring, he said, but the kids were awesome and he'd made lots of friends. A girl gave him her phone number! He told stories about one of his new best friends, some kid from Shawnee, who was 14 and had already had sex with his girlfriend and had a naked picture of her on his cellphone wallpaper.

I shivered, wondering what kind of peer pressure this was going to exert on my son, but Lego also told me he'd resisted efforts by his roommate to get him to go to a "party" in one of the other rooms in which the girls were invited down as well. He figured it wouldn't make me happy if he got kicked out, and of course, these troublemaker wannabees were caught anyway and sent back to their rooms, so maybe the kid has a pretty solid head on his shoulders after all.

I think he was as bored as I was during the graduation ceremony. But he sure did look all grown up. The four days he was gone gave me a glimpse into the future, toward the day when SO and I drive him up to college, or to the Air Force Academy, or wherever his path lies.