We arrived early to get good seats, and seats that I could tolerate (ie not the top row of the bleachers). First row, across from the stage. Perfect! (Ex-husband and his girlfriend had 2nd row from the top of the bleachers.) Graduates had to wait in the gym. 2 teachers were posted as "gatekeepers" blocking the way to the gym and the area was roped off. I waited until they were occupied and snuck past and kept walking. "Look like you know where you're going and keep walking", that's my motto. I found our son kind of pacing in the group of kids...girls squealing, wearing hoochie mama dresses and boys ineptly putting on their gowns and tassels. None of his friends were there yet. I think he was happy to see me.
Son: "That's 'so and so' walking in."He's pacing, and I'm shuffling and stretching because of my back.
Me: "Well if you're friends with him, say hi." (Isn't that just like a Mom?)
Son: "Nooo, I just know who he is."
Me: "Oh, ok."
Son: "??????" "??????" "??????" (mumbling).Oh...my...word! The poor kid! He was repeating it like a mantra and he wasn't the only one. He was also stressing, wondering if his dad would make it back from dinner to see him graduate. We chatted for awhile and I taught him an old yiddish word, "mah nishtana", 'why should things be any different?' (I'm not Jewish, I just know a number of yiddish words. I used them to impress my ex-mother-in-law.) After awhile I asked if he wanted me to leave, since I was one of only a couple of parents in the gym. He told me he could see I was in pain and I could go if I wanted. I said no, 'I want to know, do you want me to stay until a friend comes?' He said stay, so I did. About 30 minutes later one of his friends showed up, I snapped a photo and went back to sit with Anastasia. I think I did the right thing. I may have made him uncool because his mommy was standing with him, but that may have been slightly less uncool than the pacing. I don't think I've ever seen him so nervous.
Me.: "What are you saying?"
Son: "I'm just trying to remember."
Me: "Remember what?"
Son: "Right - handshake, left - diploma."
Son: "Right - handshake, left - diploma." (It was so hard not to laugh!)
Me: "Don't over think it! R E L A X! You'll do fine."
There were 3 Valedictorians, 3 nearly identical speeches, with the words in just a slightly different order. They had awards for Reading, English, Math, Science, History, Art, Athletics, Band, Phys Ed, Chorus and Spanish. then there were 2 awards named after old mucky mucks.
Here is our son after graduation. Doesn't he look so much more relaxed?