You will just have to allow me to be sappy today.
It is early Sunday morning. The "baby" -- Younger Son -- graduates from high school today. He's still upstairs asleep. The last few days has been a whirlwind of parties and celebrations for him and his friends.
The tradition in our little suburb is that parents throw grad parties for their sons/daughters. A lot of them combine with others. Younger Son spent yesterday and much of the day before going to one after the next. There are dinners, ice cream socials, brunches and pool parties. We made the decision when our first graduated that we would do ours a week before graduation, so we kind of unoficially kick things off.
This is the third, and last, time around for this little exercise for us. As Wife says, it's always a bittersweet occasion.
This year we are caught up in planning a wedding but we said from the beginning that we would not let that overshadow this milestone in Younger Son's life.
When Older Son graduated, my dad came. We had dinner the night before here at the house with him, Wife's parents, Wife's sister and all of us. I told Older Son at dinner that night how proud of him we were. I told him we would miss him when he went to college, but that all of us, including his grandmother who had died a few years before, would always be with him, and that we would take a picture of all of us the next day for him to take with him to remind him of that. He did not say much about it at the time, but every time I visited him during his college years, I noticed that the picture was somehwere in his room.
My dad died before the next graduation (Daughter's) but I had my aunt and uncle who live nearby come for dinner the night before and dear friends who live a few hours away joined us for graduation the next day. Daughter spoke at her commencement ceremony and it was beautiful.
Wife's parents were not able to make it over this weekend. They are both not feeling 100 percent and we encouraged them to conserve their energy so they can be here for the wedding. Younger Son was very gracious in understanding.
No other extended family will be with us, either, but the aforementioned friends will drive up for the ceremony. Tonight we'll go out to dinner with "just us" -- Wife, Older Son, FDIL, Daughter, Younger Son and me -- and we will celebrate this little boy who had the nerve to grow up on us, the one who God in his infinite wisdom knew that we needed to make us whole, the one Wife used to lovingly say would "keep us young or kill us."
And I don't now if he kept us young or not (the lack of hair on the top of my head would seem to say no to that) but we're still kicking.
For what he has added to our lives, though, I am without words. He is the caboose of this crazy train we call our family, the part that very much makes us complete.