Milestone. Transition. Endings. Beginnings.
And lots of tears! I think they were all mine.
I foolishly told someone a few weeks ago that I didn’t think graduations were such a big deal. I was temporarily insane.
Because when your baby graduates from college, it’s a Big Deal. For him and for us.
Daniel arrived on the scene almost twenty-two years ago and has delighted and astounded us from the beginning. Big brown eyes, blonde curls and those trademark eyelashes that he and his brother share. Our Sweet Bookie was the family caboose; the candle on the cake. You never quite expect the baby of the family to grow up, I guess, but as of this week he is a graduate of Columbia University and heading out into the world.
Well, for the moment, at least, heading from Broadway and 114th to Columbus Circle, where he will hold court for a few weeks before a trip to Europe with friends Christian and Peter. In August, he will start working for an ad agency in the city where he interned during his senior year.
The tears started as soon as I saw him in his cap and gown at Class Day on Tuesday morning. I’m not normally a big crier, but as he strode toward us, two decades of memories rushed forth and the waterworks came on in a big way. I remembered Daniel as a baby, so yummy you just wanted to eat him up. Daniel as a toddler, alternately clinging to my skirt and chasing after his big brother. Daniel, the student, always willing himself to do his best yet always modest about his accomplishments. Daniel the soccer player, gymnast, swimmer; surrounded at every turn by friends and more friends. Daniel the pianist, practicing for hours, weeks and months to perfect a Beethoven concerto. And now, Daniel the graduate, who quietly shared that oh, by the way, he earned straight A’s last semester and an A on his senior thesis.
Can this be the same little guy who said psoon for spoon and psider for spider? The same one who regaled family and friends with jokes like this one: Q: “Why did the cat climb the tree?” A: “Because he felt climb-y”. (You notice he hasn’t chosen a career in stand-up comedy…)
Between my tears and the pouring rain, Tuesday’s Class Day was a soggy one. Luckily, we were mostly under tents: the graduates in one in front of the stage and the families relegated to the side tents where they watched the ceremony on screens. You’re there but you aren’t there, yet I did manage to get this digital record of Daniel getting his graduation handshake:
All 1,024 graduates’ names were called, all the speakers had their say, and everyone was completely soaked by the time we had wandered in the rain to find our students. No one cared. These kids all worked incredibly hard to earn a place at Columbia and then they worked incredibly hard for the next four years for the privilege of wearing the blue caps and gowns with the crown insignia recalling Columbia’s origins as Kings College, founded in 1754.
We’re so proud of Daniel!
At Columbia U., one day of tears is not enough Next up: Commencement Day…