Graduation Day.

eric-kanigan-kindergarten-college-graduation

10 hour car ride. In Both directions. In three days. Why drive, when you can fly?

Fighting traffic to airport. Finding parking in overflowing lots. Standing in interminable TSA security lines. Hard-back molded plastic seats, waiting. Delays. Waiting to board. Fighting for overhead bin space. No open seats. No legroom. Non-reclining seats. Unclean arm rests and seat tray tables. Claustrophobia. Acrophobia.  And then, the other side. Waiting to deplane. Waiting for luggage. Dragging luggage to car rental, more waiting. And, then, a one-hour drive to Winston-Salem.

But “that” wasn’t it.

There was only this option, for this could be the last road trip with Family. Road trips with Family. McDonalds. Dad trying to make time, foot heavy on accelerator. Tummies full of soda, unscheduled bathroom breaks at highway rest stops. The Karaoke. The arm signals to Truckers urging a pull on the deep throaty air horns. The honking in tunnels. The spilled milkshakes. The spats in the back seat. Are we there yet?  Budget hotels with swimming pools, had to have a swimming pool. Single rooms, twin beds with too-soft mattresses, undersized bathrooms, always two towels short. The thrill of Room Service. Kids petering out, little bodies sleeping side by side, their gentle puffs of breath, gone dreaming.

I turn my head to the window to look out at the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, I wipe the tears, and step on the accelerator. Like a firework in the face. Accept our gratitude for the promise of a next chapter in life. And a next. And a next.¹ 

Graduation Day.

The procession. The speeches (who cares?). Birds, with the best seat in the house, flutter over 1200 graduates, and more than 2400 family members in the courtyard in an outdoor ceremony. The faculty sit on a grand stage, with big screens flanking each side with the show running real-time. The steeple of Wait Chapel soars above. Our Son sits rows ahead, sneaking sips of champagne from his deep pocketed robe. Text messages and photos fly in all directions.

I open the program, and run my index finger up and down the columns in search of his name. Bachelor of Science graduate, there he is. I pause for a moment, and continue. I pan over to the list of graduates with distinction. The Index finger slows this time, it’s a much shorter list. I jump 10 names at the time, the smooth gloss of the program electric on finger tips, my heart on fire now.

There he is:

Eric David Kanigan – Summa Cum Laude.

I drop my head, close the program, and close my eyes to staunch the flow. The hands clutch the thighs, but can’t intercede, the body trembles, running on its own now. Overwhelmed again.

That’s my Son.

He’s mine.


Notes:

Comments

  1. What a proud of moment… Congratulations to you ALL. Life begins now actually, for them of course. Thank you dear David, Blessing and Happiness, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. GREAT Piece, hits all the vitally important raw emotions of seeing your flesh & blood mature and progress.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations to Eric, his family and his Dad. . . he “gets it”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This brought tears as we just had a very similar experience (including the Blue Ridge Mountains). Congratulations to Eric and to YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wake Forest, by any chance? My son was at UNCSA.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations to your son! And to you… what a way of life and love – parenthood.
    Have just started a reflection including this quote. Seems meant to share-
    ‘Grief and gratitude are kindred souls, each pointing to the beauty of what is transient and given to us by grace.’ (Patricia Carlson)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just beautiful. The post. And the experience. 💘

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great job Eric! Great job Mom and Dad!:)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. freddiegeorgia says:

    Absolutely loverly!!! Family road trips brought home a flood of memories. Why you were just a ‘lil fur piece’ down the road from me…here in these magical Blue
    Ridge Mountains!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful. Congratulations all round. What a clever son you’ve raised, I’m sure always showing him the greatest love and encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing all of this David. So many memories brought back to me because of this you have shared. I feel the love for those times all over again so strongly. So happy for you and your family. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Len Waldron says:

    Congrats! Go Deacs!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lou Diaz says:

    Congratulations David !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anonymous says:

    The perfect post with which to slip back into the fold…this is beautiful and for that I will forgive you for making me cry at 5:30 am. Congrats Papa…what a milestone!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. He looks a lot like you, David.! 😉
    What a thrill for you and for Eric. How proud you must feel. And so, another chapter begins. Thankfully we (parents) get to witness the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens. Right there in the midst of it all… Wouldn’t have it any other way…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The perfect post with which to slip back into the fold. Beautiful and for that I’ll forgive you for making me cry at 5’30 am. Congrats Papa, what a milestone!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Congrats and many blessings! Exciting times…glancing back, looking ahead, and realizing how damn fast it all goes. Got a lump in my throat reading this, pal. Hope you’ll keep us posted on Eric’s next chapter. I’ve no doubt he’ll continue to make you proud…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Vera Kanigan says:

    Congratulations to Eric and all of you! May he continue to make you proud! Blessings and exciting times ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. All so beautiful and heartwarming.
    Congratulations,
    to all of you, again.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well, that made me cry. Congratulation!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. it comes like a tsunami.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. That mama’s boy? He’s his father’s son too…so much to be proud of…

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Heartwarming, David. Great moments to remember while looking fwd to the next step, and the next. Congratulations to Eric & you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Congratulations to both of you, Proud Dad!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Gorgeous and Clever! How exciting for you all and it is in these precious moments we remember, why we love and stay present with each other. I wish Eric every success in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Congrats to you and to Eric.Oh yeah, his mother probably deserves some credit, and his sister for putting up with him. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  28. You may have staunched the flow when reading Eric’s name…with distinction. I couldn’t so didn’t. There you have it. A confession from the heart….remembering my own two…so long ago and still it seems just yesterday….two grandchildren ago. Memories etched and embraced forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. michael zahaby says:

    Congrats to the entire family. Amazing how time flies. I recall your earlier posts when he started college. Bonne chance a tous

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Christie says:

    Dave, Thank you for sharing about your bright, well rounded and handsome son… in sharing your heart in such a loving, honoring and beautiful manner, we witness an extension of your soul…Children are such a blessed gift and such a tremendous, lovely responsibility …Eric has has worked hard and is joyful…You and Susan have gifted your children with the benefit of two loving, intelligent parents with great sensitivity, creativity, morals and sense of humor…well done, beaming parents!! and Miss Rachel is I am sure very stoked for her brother 🙂 May he continue to do well, stand tall on his own two feet, learn by doing, seek your advice when needed and keep God in the forefront…Kindly and much Joy to you and your family, Christie

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I know!! Carrie’s words say everything.. Oh my. Well done everyone !

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Time flies!!! Congrats to the family!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. And in a blink, here we are – Kindergarten to Adult life! Bravo! Mom & Dad, take a bow, too ~ and savor all of these moments 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Congratulations to Eric and your family, David! I’ve enjoyed sharing thischapter with you and look forward to the next chapter and the next…..

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Did you get rid of your “like” button, buddy?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Beautiful…just last weekend we were at our oldest son’s graduation from Vanderbilt University. I can relate to so much…the road trip, the ceremony, the program, the flow…ugh my heart!!! Congratulations to you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. One of the greatest moments in a father’s life. Graduation from college is a significant accomplishment. A sobering moment for a dad whose steering hand can somehow be seen in a son’s success.
    Congrats to Eric and to you Dave; your name will be forever along side his on that diploma.
    -Alan

    Like

  38. Congratulations, David. What a beautiful, real post. Your pride is jumping off the page. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: