It’s that time of year. The time of year when your mailbox (and inbox!) are flooded with tons of people graduating from Kindergarten, 8th Grade, High School, College and who knows what else. We’re just gonna have a real life talk, well a real life guide to graduations for a minute. You may be able to relate.
Small Town Graduations
Up first in the Real Life Guide to Graduations are small town graduations, and they need their own category. If you’re from a big city, and not a tiny hick-town, this will make zero sense to you. If you’re from a small town, this will bring back so many memories. First, you will need to prepare yourself to be there about 30 minutes early. If you’re not, you won’t have anywhere to park, or anywhere to sit. Why? Because everyone and their mother, grandmother, and second cousin three times removed will be there, and they’re all saving seats for someone. Second, it’s gonna be long. Just because there are only 35 kids in the graduating class, does not mean they are going to shorten the length of this ceremony. No one can be left out. The principal will tell a story on almost every child from Kindergarten or second grade. Each student will have their life story played on a projector with every hit country song from the year. Approximately 28 of the 35 students will give a speech about something. Then just when you think it’s almost over, and the choir and band has already performed 7 different songs, you will now need to sit through the reading of every single scholarship that each of the 35 students has earned, and which clubs they belonged to (hint: they ALL belong to FFA). Third, it will be approximately 786 degrees in the gymnasium where the graduation is held. Only half the people there will have on deodorant. Fourth, air horns. No one, and I mean NO ONE will listen to the faculty when they ask for no air horns, and for no noise until all student’s names have been read. Don’t worry, no one will get in trouble, because all of the faculty will be sitting on the stage anyway.
The absolute best graduations I ever went to, were when my husband’s aunt was one of the faculty in charge of graduation, and they made it their goal to see how quickly they could get through graduation. I think the record was somewhere around thirty minutes total. That rocked! Faculty has since changed, and that dream is long gone.
Attending Graduations With Kids
The second topic we need to cover in the Real Life Guide to graduations is attending graduations with kids. You need to prepare yourself as a parent, that you will need you children to sit in a bleacher or theater seat, for approximately 2 hours without talking, getting up, moving, or crying. Two. Long. Hours. If you allow your child to make noise, get up, go to the bathroom, cry, complain, etc, you can guarantee that every non-parent will glare at you, because you cannot control your children like they will theirs. Also, the building you’re in is sure to steal all your cell phone signal, so even electronics will not work to distract your children. I mentally prepare myself to attend graduations with my children for about a week in advance. Drink lots of coffee, and find your happy place if you to must endure this torture. If you attend a small town graduation rest easy knowing that everyone lets their children talk, play, and get up as often as they please during the whole ceremony. I love having to explain to my kids why they can’t run up and down the steps like the other children, or why they have to whisper. It’s because we’re not heathens, kids.
The last thing that needs to be covered in the Real Life Guide to Graduations is graduation gifts. Be prepared to need to take out a small loan to give out graduation gifts. You cannot just slip $5 in a card, and call it good for a graduation gift these days, no, no, no. $20 is a minimum, and that’s if you’re poor! Unless you can be super creative and come up with a DIY gift, and even then you’d be hard pressed not to include money in some form or fashion. Kids clean UP for graduation now, and you must contribute. I’m just waiting for Go Fund Mes to be a thing for graduation gifts now. “Help me reach my goal of $10,000 to start my college adventure after graduation! College is expensive!” Just wait, it will happen, if it hasn’t already.
If you’re graduating this year, congratulations! I promise I don’t hate you for inviting me, very much. And don’t worry, my family should have enough money for food after we gift you the appropriate graduation present. I will be bringing my children, though, and we won’t need an air horn.
If you’re attending graduations this year, keep this Real Life Guide to Graduations handy, you’re gonna need it. If you have kids, hang in there, you should live through it. If you don’t have kids, just enjoy your air horn.