May 4, 2020

two outta four ain't bad

Confession time:  I am not one of those moms that gets weepy at 8th grade graduation.  I just don't.  I attend the ceremony, take the photos, congratulate the grad, enjoy chatting with friends, etc.  I just don't get all emotional.  It is a sweet moment and all, but a dry-eyed one for me.  

I do host a low key party.  Coach takes my non-weepy emotions a step further.  He does not believe 8th grade graduations need to be celebrated.  I don't invite everyone we know to these celebrations, typically just family and a few close friends of the graduate.  If you knew Coach's folks, you might understand the non-celebratory gene that he seems to have inherited.  Coach whines a bit about a party for an 8th grade grad, but he doesn't demand that I NOT host something. 

Lad graduated 8th grade from Catholic grammar school.  After he graduated we pulled out and sent the kids to the public school a few blocks from our house.  Best. Move. Ever.  (Only in part because it made my in-laws crazy).  We couldn't afford the Catholic school and our public school is outstanding.  

Ed was in 6th grade when he started at the public school.  He had an amazing group of friends at the Catholic school and it was really hard for him to leave, BUT - looking back, he now says 'thank God you pulled me out of there.  I got a much better education at the public school'.   Yes, in case you are wondering, I have offered him a more significant part of our inheritance if he decides to casually share that tidbit with my in-laws AND captures their red-faced reaction on video.  (New here?  My in-laws are religious zealots.  Nuff said).   

The public school also offered much more for our kids who struggle with speech, ADD, etc.  Lad would have benefited from that school.  Hindsight is so helpful, right?

I have quite a few of
these cap and gowns
floating around. 
Can you believe
 that only 2 were worn?
Anyway, I have to say that the Catholic school graduation ceremony was lovely.  I still didn't cry, but it included many sweet touches.  We only had the one kid graduate from there.  

At the public school, the grad ceremony is fine.  That is all.  Fine.  I would even venture to say boring.  They celebrate the same award recipients as they do the few nights prior at the awards assembly.  Redundant?  Yes.  They use it as one more occasion for the band to play.  And play.  The choir - dear God, they always manage to give a solo to some girl whose high pitched singing could shatter glass.  The song is always cheesey.  Then someone speaks from the board of education.  Yadda, yadda, yadda.  At last it is over and we take photos and watch as people try to trample one another to grab snacks and drinks from the over-crowded, easy-to-lose-your-family cafeteria.  

Remember this?
This still remains one of my
 favorite Halloween
 costumes - ever.  Mini wore
 this cap and
 gown with boxing gloves
 to school as an 8th grader
 after Tank missed graduation
 for being in a fight
 the year before.
Pot stirred!
A few weeks ago, I realized something.  Reg is our 4th public school 8th grade graduate.  Since his graduation ceremony is virtual, we won't be required to sit in the gym for a night I find cringe-worthy.  Oddly enough, out of the 4 grads we have had there, after Reg graduates (which is honestly starting to look questionable because I continue to get emails from teachers requesting that he turns in missing work.  Heavy sigh) we will only have attended 2 actual ceremonies.  

If missing the ceremony made Reg sad, I would not celebrate in front of him - but he doesn't really care.  Maybe it is a boy thing.  Missing the DC trip, now that is something that makes him sad.  I am heartbroken over that one too.  

Anyway, thanks to Tank getting kicked out of school on the last day for defending himself when that kid punched him in the head on the final 8th grade field trip, and now the pandemic - we have only been required to attend two of four possible ceremonies.  

When I shared this realization with the family, we laughed and high-fived and celebrated and chatted about what other way we will find to spend our time during the pandemic instead of attending a ceremony.  Yes, apparently we are 'that' family.    


Anonymous said...

I'm with you, I see no need for an 8th grade graduation ceremony. Luckily, our school did not have them when my sons were that age, so I didn't have to attend one. My oldest son did not even attend his high school ceremony, no matter how much I tried to get him to go!

Kari said...

Where I grew up, there was no 8th-grade graduation so it is completely lost on me. In fact, if Ellie is still homeschooling we probably won't have anything ut a dinner out. It is kind of silly because they are simply moving up. Now I am seeing ELEMENTARY school graduations and I am like WTF?

I am so sad for the high schoolers who are losing out on graduation and college students as well. Sigh.

I only know public school graduations so I don't have anything to go off of BUT my best friend's daughters graduated from Catholic school (yours, by the way) and I did attend the youngest daughter's honors ceremony and it was very proper and LONG. I also felt like I was in prison because every time I looked up, there were several teachers pacing around the balcony. It was comical. And stressful too. ;)

Busy Bee Suz said...

I think it's kind of ridiculous having those ceremonies until High School graduation.My girls had one at the end of elementary school (5th grade), then an 8th grade one at the end of middle school. It too much pomp and circumstance for me; so I'm with you on all of that.
I seem to recall the girls each having some friends over for pizza and swimming afterward.

When you get Ed to announce to the in-laws about the public school vs Catholic school-I'd give you two cookies and and ice cream to see it.

I remember the funny Tank costume. Too cute!

Ernie said...

Anonymous - I can't believe he didn't go to his high school graduation. That seems like such a victory. Um, the night Lad graduated from high school, Reg knocked Coach's front teeth out while practicing pitching to him. Like two hours before the ceremony. Coach has little blisters all over his lips in the photos. And he sat through the graduation holding a bag of ice on his face after the dentist shoved the teeth back up there temporarily.

Kari - Coach's parents are from Ohio, so maybe that is why to his side it is bazaar to celebrate 8th grade graduation. When I grew up my folks did a casual cookout with my cousins and grandparents, but my extended family was very small. In my mind we do a similar thing, but with our cousins-out-the-ass situation we cannot celebrate anything small. Laughing at your description of high school awards at my old school. They did stuff all dressy and serious. It was so crowded when I graduated from high school we failed to have a good meeting spot afterwards, so when I 'found' my family my dad shouted at me. Um, buzz kill.

Suz - My kids did a clap out (aka the lamest tradition ever, one that I never attended - in part because we were new to the district having come from Catholic school and I didn't get it/go to Tank's, so then I was all "well, I didn't go to his, so . . ."). anyway - this was after 4th grade as they were moving to a new building for 5th. I have always done what I consider a small family cook-out after 8th gr, because that's what we did growing up but - see above - big ass family that we have makes it a bigger gathering. Maybe I should only invite the family members I like - now that would cause a few ripples. Ha.

I love a challenge and I love ice cream - so I will be contemplating a way to get Ed on board and make him reveal to them that he would NEVER send his kids to parochial school WITH my video camera running in the background. Ha.

I just distance-chatted with another mom on my driveway and I told her how we were now missing 2 graduations/snooze fests. I didn't realize that she had never heard the story of Tank. I shared the story and I walked in the house later thinking: 'Oh, that is what it is like to yuk it up and converse with someone. I had almost forgotten.' Bah ha ha.

Kara said...

I don't believe in 8th grade "graduations" either. We went to the torture fest of the oldest kid's- she won a "Citizenship Award" which to her meant they thought she was too stupid to earn any academic awards- and then I bribed the middle kid to opt out that day (she didn't want to go either). Youngest is in 7th right now, but I can't imagine that she'd be too sad to skip it.

Ernie said...

Kara - If they didn't do both an awards ceremony and then a graduation, I might survive it. Both is overkill - especially since more of the 8th grade awards are mentioned again at graduation.

Nicole MacPherson said...

Here high school starts in grade ten, and so we have ninth grade graduation. My son is going to miss his as it is cancelled, and I am very sad about it.

Ernie said...

Nicole - So is high school from 10th to 12th grade then? Sorry about his graduation and his sailing trip. I think Brendan would have gotten more out of his DC trip as far as lasting memories go. It is heart breaking to consider what everyone is missing out on.