Thursday, May 26, 2011
Pomp and Circumstance...and Lots of Beaches
If you're wondering where I've been, my younger daughter graduated (brief pause for an indulgence in maternal pride here: Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude) from her college down in Florida last weekend and we decided to turn the expedition to celebrate her achievement (and help haul home four years' accumulation of stuff) into a brief vacation. At one point we were afraid only Steve would be able to go while I headed for high ground with the family's overpopulation of cats (I cannot drive Steve's hulking white SUV, nicknamed "Moby Dick"). But in the end the Mississippi River's threat to New Orleans receded and I was able to make the trip, too .
I know most people think graduations are boring, but I actually love them--or at least, I love the beginning of the ceremony when the graduates march in accompanied by a seemingly endless loop of Pomp and Circumstance. The auditorium or stadium (or giant tent overlooking the bay, in this case) swells with such a heartwarming surge of joy and pride that I usually find myself fighting back tears. Students graduating with honors are justly proud of their academic achievement, while those not graduating with honors are equally proud (and often enormously relieved) simply to have managed to graduate at all. It's a long, hard slog through college, four years of fun and pain, growing and decision making, sacrifice and transformation, exploration and discovery. And it all seems to come together in that one uplifting, shared moment of giddy rejoicing. I am soooo glad I didn't have to miss it.
Woven in amongst the various ceremonies were also multiple trips with my daughter to her favorite beaches and piers. She grew up on the beach in Australia, so the last four years have been bliss for her. And somewhere, strolling along some shell-strewn beach, I stumbled across the solution to a problem that's been holding up my proposal for book #8 in the Sebastian series. So I guess maybe I can call it a working vacation?