Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I don't care what they say about us anyway

Last Thursday, Nolan, KB and I went to the graduation of our friend Amit. KB has known Amit since KB was in med school and Amit was a high school student working on the same research project as part of an advanced science curriculum he was taking.

KB and I are sincerely hoping that Nolan turns out as well as Amit and his younger brother Nitish have - they are both incredibly bright young men who are well-mannered (but not in a repressed way, in a natural way) and love their parents. I spent most of the luncheon picking their mother's brain (when I wasn't picking up food Nolan had thrown) to find out what they did to raise two such fabulous young men.

So the graduation was at Harvard, naturally, and of course Amit was getting both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree SIMULTANEOUSLY after his four years at Harvard. And what were these degrees in, you ask? Only physics, chemistry and mathematics. Did I mention he was bright?

The ceremony was held under a tent because it was raining, and I guess at Harvard they divide the students up by their residence houses as opposed to their areas of study, so this ceremony was for residents of Cabot House and the degrees ran the gamut from Zoology to Astrophysics. One of the other people graduating was Rivers "If You Want To Destroy My Sweater" Cuomo, who apparently went back to school to get an English degree from Harvard. (When I saw his name in the program and told KB who he was, KB said, "Wise move.")

It was probably about a hundred graduates, and I was glad it was a small group because I didn't know how long Nolan would last sitting with us in plastic folding chairs, listening to people applaud. He couldn't really get down and crawl or practice walking since it was packed and the ground was soggy anyway, and we had a limited number of books and toys crammed into the diaper bag.

The other thing was, each graduate apparently filled out a little card before the ceremony that described where they hoped to be in ten years and who they wanted to thank. So EVERY SINGLE PERSON who received a diploma had the announcer read their card. It was kind of nice at first, and I wondered why none of my graduations had thought to include that kind of thing, but I quickly figured it out: because it takes for-fucking-ever! Some people tried to be funny, and some were incredibly ambitious ("After I resolve the genocide in Darfur and discover a vaccine for AIDS, I'll devote my time to eliminating hunger"). But mostly they were just repetitive. Rivers Cuomo thanked his bandmates for supporting his decision to return to school and someone in the back of the tent yelled out "Weeeeezer!" Nolan was unimpressed.

When they got to Amit (whose last name begins with "L") right in the middle of the group, I thought, "Well, at least Nolan made it that far. Now if he pitches a fit we can do that parent-with-screaming-child-running-to-the-back-of-the-church/theatre/tent maneuver you've seen so many times." We kept giving him different items and passing him back and forth from KB to me, and would you believe he made it through the whole ceremony? There was one quiet moment between graduates when Nolan proclaimed, "Buh-haaaaaaaaaa-mmmmmmmm-na-na-na-na-na-na-na!" to everyone and there was a general chuckle when the announcer said, "There you have it." in response. But that was it.

After it was over and everyone was filing out of the tent, an older woman tapped me on the arm and said, "Young lady, young lady." to which I did the looking-around-behind-me-to-see-who-she's-talking-to that I used to do when people called me "Ma'am." She said, "I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful little boy you have. He was so well-behaved and pleasant; you must be doing such a good job with him." I felt at once absurdly pleased and rather dismissive. He's only one year old; I'm pretty sure that any good behavior on his part is just a natural function of his personality, not anything we've been doing with him. He behaved well because he felt like it; we just got lucky.

Then we all filed into an adjacent hall for the lunch Harvard was putting on for graduates and their families and guests. That was the biggest disappointment of the day - it was a buffet-style lunch, which in and of itself is not so bad, but there was nowhere provided for people to sit and eat. The ground outside was soggy and it was still drizzling, and the cleanup crew had already started folding up all the chairs under the tent. Plus the food was the kind you needed to cut up with a fork and knife, so I'm not sure how they expected people to manage. If I was a parent of a Harvard graduate who had just spent god knows how much money on their education and then flown across the country to see them graduate, I think I'd be a wee bit disappointed not to have a place to park my ass while I ate my cold chicken and pasta salad.*

I was glad we could be there to support Amit and his family, and it was nice to do an all-day outing with Nolan (he had his one-year doctor's appointment that morning) and realize that the world won't end if he doesn't get his meals or naps at exactly the right time. Nice for me, I mean. I'm still trying to be a little more adventurous about taking him out and about and not panicking when we have to be a little flexible.

But the drive back home sucked eggs.

Thanks for reading.

*Plus, and this would really gall me if it was my kid, the program for the commencement had the wrong date! It said "2005 Graduating Class!" So much for a nice keepsake.


Electric Mayhem said...

Yay Nolan! (I'm going to start all of my comments with that).

I think you and KB *may* have had something to do with his disposition, however.

Yale would never do that, would they Dru?

Joy - Why did the drive home suck?

thptpth said...

It sucked because it took an hour and 45 minutes to go 10 miles, and because I got rear-ended AGAIN in another minor fender-bender type accident trying to get home. At least the woman stopped and gave me her insurance info, but jesus christ. I swear, there's a giant magnet in the left rear corner of our car that attracts other cars.

zachdb said...

Harvard, meh. Yale's graduation surely kicked Harvard's ass.

I'm sorry your ride home sucked as much as Harvard.

Erica Mulherin said...

Another fender bender? Oh man..I'm sorry that totally sucks.

thptpth said...

Yep. I'm just not gonna drive unless it's absolutely necessary. It's summer, man, we'll walk everywhere!