Sunday, June 11, 2017

When I graduated from PCC eight years ago my family threw me a giant BBQ celebration  "It's only community college," I protested, "it doesn't mean anything." But they were proud, not many in our family had attended school and it was a big deal to them. I'll take nearly any excuse for a BBQ and a good time, so there it was. 

Yesterday, I attended a commencement for the moment I had been waiting for for those long eight years. Despite having a primary and back-up set of guests, I attended with only my husband and son. Which is fine, but disheartening. No one offered to throw me a party, so I decided to throw myself one. A giant house party and BBQ, all the fanfare necessary to celebrate a moment that actually means something. 

I'm not sure if it's because I'm almost 30 and popular opinion is that I should have had this completed seven years ago, or if college graduation is seen as a child's accomplishment and I own a home, cars, have a child, and already an established decent paying job. I'm not sure if it's that I've just fallen out somehow with family and friends, which I think is likely due to other events that my unit is excluded from and that we've had with none in attendance. I feel adrift between friend groups and disconnected from my kin. I'm not sure if it's because with self-deprication I put graduate in quotations because I still have four classes left until I actually get my diploma. 

Whatever the reason, here I am feeling accomplished as fuck. I worked 40+ hours a week and attended school full time over the last two years, all while raising a toddler and much of the time being the sole breadwinner and leader of our home. I feel like I'm a superhuman but... I'm not allowed to talk about it. Like the 20 year old getting their driver's license for the first time or a 30 year old who lost their virginity, I'm past my prime where I'm allowed to care as much as I feel myself caring. And it fucking sucks.

On the train into town yesterday we were not the only ones headed to commencement ceremonies. People were there, having flown in from Idaho to attend their family member's. The ballroom where mine was held was full of families and friends taking up full tables. I recall the many events celebrating graduation that happened last summer for my friends and family members. Events so large that no house could hold them. Huge parties that filled lawns and lasted well into the night. Photo booths and presents and celebration and fanfare.

And then there's me, a year later feeling rather underwhelmed. 

I know that sometimes days just don't work for people and events just don't work out. I get it. But... that doesn't make it not hurt. It feels even more like it's something to do with me, particularly. Because this isn't just a commencement party, it's also my grandma-mom's birthday and a nod to John being laid off and... Still... rather empty.

Which is not to discount those that are coming. It's a running joke now among my inner family that we should stop calling events "birthday party for John" or "game night" or "holiday party" but should just start labeling everything "dinner with the Kingsburys". It's pretty accurate. They show up, they stay late, they generally reciprocate invites, they love my kid, and they've let us crash with them when we didnt have anywhere to go. Framily for life. 

And we've got a few more as well, and I'm sure it'll be fine.

I'm not mad that more aren't going to be in attendance, I'm not upset at any person or group that missed my commencement or fails to acknowledge my fragile tender heart. I just feel adrift. And I know it's silly. For an almost 30 year old to feel any kind of way about an accomplishment that is so ordinary it's expected of everyone. 

And it's all rather mixed in my head because I haven't done anything, not yet, I do still have 4 classes left. And really, I just missed everyone and wanted to have an excuse to get together and laugh and eat and see the faces of my friends and family and feel connected. And this culmination of things felt important somehow. And then, all of the sudden not at all. So I'm out of the mood, and I kind of just want to cancel the whole thing and not leave my bed. 

But it is still my grandma-mom's birthday, and she's almost 70, and even if I don't deserve a party, by God she does! So I'll shift the focus and have a dinner for her and then I'll finish up my night with "dinner with the Kingsburys" and all will be as it is. 

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