Sunday, June 5, 2011

In Praise of Mothers

Today my youngest son graduates from high school at noon, and then this evening his entire class begins an all-night adventure known as "Last Blast." The kids meet at school and then after signing yearbooks and being fed extremely well, they get loaded onto four buses and go to four different locations (places which have been reserved specially for just this class of 178 graduates) where they do things like ride bumper cars, play mini-putt, and bowl. And at every stop along the way, there are parent-provided munchies and drinks: these lucky devils get pizza, sandwiches, chips, desserts (baked with love by students' mothers), ice cream, candy, and who knows what else. The festivities are topped off with a breakfast cruise out past a lighthouse, and in clear weather the kids end their last night as high school classmates watching a glorious sunrise together. On the boat ride, the kids are winding down: some sit on deck chairs passing around their yearbooks; some curl up and sleep; some cry. Last Blast is a truly awesome way to end four years of high school, and for the fifth time, my husband and I are going to be there to witness the whole thing. We have always volunteered to be all-night chaperones; and though we may be getting a little old for this sort of thing, we wouldn't miss doing it this one last time for the world!

Every year, there's a red bus, a white bus, a yellow bus, and a blue bus. The chaperones of each bus decorate it in its designated color with crepe paper streamers, baloons, etc., and they pass out plastic leis, glow sticks, hats and other goodies in the same color to all their student passengers. Everywhere you look, you can tell which bus each student belongs to! It's really fun and becomes a competiton to see whose bus is the best. My husband and I will be chaperoning on the blue bus, riding along with the kids all night as they hit each spot and move on to the next. We aren't 100% sure where they're going this year--it's a big secret! But we are fairly certain that it will end with the traditional sunrise harbor cruise. We are really looking forward to it. Our son is on the white bus (the administration never puts a student on the same bus as his parents), but he has already informed me that I can take as many pictures of him and his friends as I want throughout the night. (Luckily, none of our boys ever requested that we stay away from Last Blast, because I think it's as much fun for my husband and myself as it is for the kids!)

I started out this post planning to say simply, "My youngest son graduates today and then we are chaperoning his all-night graduation party, so I don't have time to write much." I figured that since my daughter-in-law is a new mother, I would just post a picture of this lovely bookmark with its beautiful image of Our Lady of Grace, and its tribute to mothers and all the jobs they do, and that would be it. The whole point of this post was going to be to praise mothers! Instead, I went on and on about my son's Last Blast! But maybe what I wrote in this post wasn't so far off the subject of motherhood (and fatherhood, too, for that matter) after all. It's hard to imagine now, just days after the birth of her twin girls, but someday, my daughter-in-law might very well find herself riding on a bus with my son, chaperoning a graduation party like this one. Along with about a million other things, that's the kind of thing that mothers do.

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