Friday, June 17, 2011

So around 6:45 on Wednesday night my son called me and said he needed a shirt, a tie and some nice slacks for his 8th grade graduation the next day. I told him good luck with all that and then he got quiet. Then he said well Dad, I really need to look nice tomorrow, and again I said told him I wanted him to look nice too. Then he asked me to hold on, and he put his mother on the phone. When I heard his mother's voice, I politely asked her to put my son back on the phone and we started over.

I told Carlton that if needed me to buy something for him (or reimburse his mother in this case) he needed to tell me that a)he needed money b)how much everything was going to cost me and c) how soon he needed it. I told him that if he was going to make the Daddy-I-need-something phone call, he needed to do the proper research. I told him a little advance notice wouldn't hurt either, and he reluctantly agreed. I also told his mother to help him out with this research in the future., then I agreed to help her but his graduation outfit, and then I hung up. My dad taught me that lesson when I was 11, so I was more than happy to pass that torch.

Two seconds after I hung up I realized that I had NO clue about this graduation ceremony until my son told me about it five minutes beforehand, and my wife brought that point home even more when she said, "You really need to be there". And she was right. I made calls to my boss, made other arrangements, got directions, and the next morning I drove 3 hours to Newport News, Virginia, and I was at graduation front and center to see my son advance from 8th grade to 9th grade (high school).

Some graduation observations:

1)The age of parents ranged from early 30s to late was amazing. The younger parents had endless energy, the took pic, shot videos and the older parents sat on their ass looking old, slow, relieved and tired. But all the parents were happy, which is what really matters.

2)They don't make 8th graders like they did back in '88. And that's all I'll say about that.

3) My son finished strong academically, but started slow, so he didn't win any awards. The girl who is he in the process of making his girlfriend? She won every academic-related award there was to win, which made me proud of his taste (she was cute too). His mother was focused on her short skirt and cleavage, and quickly discounted her as a girlfriend prospect for my son. I told her that was a parent issue, and she shouldn't take that out on the child. I was quickly and loudly overruled. I mean really..what's wrong a straight A, rising 9th grader who dresses like a strumpet? You can't win them all right?

4) I cried..I won't even sit here and try to sugarcoat it. I saw my son walk across the stage, look every teacher in the eye and shake their hand, and take that diploma. Then he looked his mother's direction and waved, then he looked my direction and nodded his head and smiled..and then I lost it. I wasn't bawling and crying uncontrollably (like his mother), I just had a few tears. My boy has become a young man despite some tough circumstances..that's a beautiful thing.

Now the adventure that is high school begins..

(I'll devote a separate blog post to the wallpaper my son's mother has chosen for her living room. For now, just focus on the vest, the shirt and the tie that my son picked out on his own.)


maxwellsmusze said...

awww! glad he pulled thru and is moving on to the 9th grade. congratulations to you both.

Jazzbrew said...

My man looks CLEAN. Congrats. I'm months away from beginning the parenthood adventure and trust I will be hitting you for advice as I roll down that road. From what I've read you and I were cut from the same cloth.