Graduations and Celebrations

It’s quite a surreal moment to see your child, in my case my first born, graduate high school. It also adds an interesting element to drop off your toddler at childcare on the way to the ceremony, but that’s beside the point.

The graduation festivities were full of excitement and emotion. It was very moving to see hundreds of high school seniors march onto the football field while Pomp and Circumstance played over the loudspeakers. I was full of pride to see Teenager walk onto the stage to be handed his diploma and realize all that has gone into this moment; the past 18 years of his life. I am so proud of him and what he has become and full of hope for the future and what he has yet to become.

As our family was cheering for him on the Home side of the stadium, Teenager had one more guest across the field on the Visitor side; his father. In a phone conversation with Teenager a few weeks earlier, his father had asked about graduation tickets. Since we did have an extra due to some family members that were unable to make it I decided to be nice and give it to him; at least he had the desire to see his child graduate even if his contributions in the last several years towards getting him to that point were none. To be honest, I was pleased he wanted to see him graduate (and thanked him for coming) and was able to put aside the annoyance of having of course paid the entire cost of his graduation.

Ironically, the following day when the new grads were asked to go to the Admin office to pick up the official copy of their diploma (they hand out empty covers at the ceremony) Teenager ran into his father doing the same thing. His father explained that he needed to get a copy of his diploma to prove he’d graduated so child support payments could cease. Of course, just because child support is no longer due when a child graduates high school, it doesn’t mean the kid no longer needs to be supported. Naturally, his father takes it entirely for granted that I will be the one to continue to do so, as I’ve done all these years. And because I know the obvious questions, let me just say the answer is “no” to both; “Will he be providing help towards colleges?” and “Did he at least give Teenager a graduation gift?”

One of many, many negatives from the prior shared custody arrangement years ago was this little gem; Teenager would be over at his father's house for the weekend and would hear comments about how hard it was for them to pay child support and how they couldn’t wait for it to end so they could get a new truck. I can’t help but think now about how his father and of course “Special Reader” must be celebrating heartily over their increased income and being “rid of that payment forever”. Naturally, their increased income means our decreased income, with of course no decrease in costs as we still have the same kid to care for not to mention now send to college. But I’ll tell you what, every day I get to look at my son and see him continue to do great things with his life and feel the joy that comes from seeing all he’s accomplished and what he's become and know that I had at least a small part in it.

And that is a reason to celebrate.

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