Pomp and Circumstance?

Spring is here, and with it soon will come the inevitable occurrences of graduations.  High school.  College.  Middle School.  Elementary School.  Smiles, hugs, families and parties will mark the transition from one educational and life stage to the next.

However, all of this caused me to stop and wonder….when did it become so “mainstream” to celebrate the graduation from every single age and stage?

High school and College graduations.  Those are the big time.  The culmination of years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice.  So many people unfortunately don’t get the chance to graduate high school, let alone college.  The mark of passage is something that should be heralded and celebrated.  Young men and women strive to do their best to make it across that stage in their cap and gown to accept the diploma or degree that they earned.

8th grade graduation?  Not for my son.  An 8th grade “recognition” ceremony.  Where awards of every type were given out to deserving students from each subject group.  In addition to not only a Principal’s award of Excellence, Recognition, Showing up to do well, Participation, Origami… (Okay so I made those last few up but you know what I mean).  Unless your child got an award, there was honestly very little reason to sit in a hot crowded gymnasium that you needed tickets for to wait just for someone to call your child’s name. No walk across a stage, no handing of a certificate.  Just hard metal chairs.

Let’s stroll down to 5th grade.  Some states don’t even have 5th grade as the transition from elementary to middle school.  You made it!  You’re finally going to get to a school where you’ll have to change classes.  You won’t be in the same class with the same people all day every day.  Just every other day.  On A days and B days.

And then comes the invasion of the cuteness.  The tear-jerking, heart-tugging sickeningly sweet graduations from Kindergarten, Pre-K and TK.  Now this is the big time!  This is where you see acres and acres of sobbing mothers jostling for position with cell phone cameras, regular cameras, and for those who are really multitasking, their Ipad camera.

705_3571024And the final destination of overwhelming AWWWWWWWWWWWWW….Preschool graduation.  Tiny tots in tiny caps and gowns; trying to stay in single file to Pomp and Circumstance.  Some of them fall out of line. Some pick their noses.  Some cry and try to run to their parents.  Some are off in their own little world and get completely left behind as the line moves forward and then they have to hike up their tiny gowns and run to the front because they don’t want to be left out because invariably there is the promise of some sort of party with cupcakes or some other type of sweet involved afterward.

Is the American Culture the only one who puts such stock in observing every milestone they can with organized ceremonies?  Do other countries do the same as we do?  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I cried like I did when I watched Amistad when I saw my teeny 4 year old boy in his white cap and gown walk across the preschool stage.  And I’m sure when my daughter graduates high school next year I’ll be one of the parents that has to have someone else hold the camera because the wave of tears blurring my view will be not unlike Niagara Falls.

So I’ll continue to smile and be proud of everyone’s tiny humans and their larger ones, liking photos on Facebook and posting my own when it’s time.

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Melissa McAtee

Melissa McAtee

I'm a single mom of 2 originally from the Midwest. How many people can you say that you know from the Town of Normal? I have one son, age 14 and one daughter, age 17. I'm also engaged to be married in June, 2015. We also have 2 furbabies, Tinkerbella Pixiedust, a 9 pound Chin-Tzu, and Jack Sparrow, our rescue Boxer. I have quite a few nicknames; including Mama Mack, Wonder Woman and Chocolate Mary Poppins (all of which are totally true....).