Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Does anyone else believe Facebook, Instagram and most of all Pinterest ruined their life? I have spent countless hours on all the above, especially Pinterest looking at inspiring ways to decorate my house, spruce up my backyard, new hairdos, recipes for my latest diet and yes, creative ways to celebrate a milestone. Step by step instructions are often available and those who created masterpieces make it look so easy. I feel inspired and then let down after realizing I am missing that creative gene or the skills necessary. Even as I understand my limitations, it doesn’t stop me from perusing the site and I hope to one day become a master of something creative. Recently, I was trying to come up with an imaginative way to honor and acknowledge my son’s graduation from High School. I turned to the un-trustworthy source of Pinterest for inspiration. While many of the ideas centered around group celebrations, and in this time of Covid-19 with social distancing, I was somewhat at a loss.
Honoring my senior in conjunction with what the school planned was my motivation. The school, much to its credit, planned celebrations surrounding the seniors all while Sheltering In Place. Out of the few events planned, one brought me to tears, and not for the reasons you think.
A parade was planned asking the senior families to come with signs, decorated cars, loud noise makers, and enthusiasm. After reading the email announcement, I had a moment of clarity, a moment where the creative juices were flowing and much to my surprise, my idea was not generated through Pinterest. As the principal’s email read “parents wishing to place posters or signs for the senior parade” are welcome to do so at the entrance of the student parking lot. Perfect, I thought. Thoughts of posting my brilliant idea to fellow DIY’ers did cross my mind.
I dusted off my handy-dandy plastic Arts & Crafts caddy tucked away in a closet, filled with markers, crayons, stickers, glue sticks, foam letters, and stamps acquired over the years for those awful group projects assigned (the ones where parents did the majority of work!) when life was simpler. I also grabbed the giant Tupperware bin of memories and school photos taken of him starting with preschool up until Ninth grade. Ninth grade? The realization of missing years came after I started gluing the photos to the large piece of Oak tag. His school years passed so quickly and realized I was missing last 3 years of school photos. Now, my wonderful idea would not be complete. Fortunately, I was able to find recent photos, and printed them out. However, the quality of prints generated from our 10 year old printer and being low on Cyan ink (why is it always Cyan?) made the photos look worse than a photocopy from 1995. I did not despair as DIY’ers always carry on and modify their plans. I spent a few hours cutting, pasting (not on the computer) looking at old photos and admiring the changing looks of my little guy as he entered adulthood.
I finished the poster and planned to hang it from the car in lieu of on the grass. The parade started late in the afternoon I picked him up at his friend’s house and he took one look at the poster and said, “Don’t”.
While waiting join the parade, I saw a smattering of professionally made lawn signs and vinyl banners along the grassy berms at the entrance of the student parking lot and my heart sank. When the cars were at a standstill, I realized my sign was undeserving of the pride I felt. Thankfully I listened to him. My creative endeavor wasn’t a success – it looked juvenile and unfinished (i.e. pathetic). Being part of the fanfare, I understood. Other cars in line were decorated to the nines with a brilliant assortment of streamers and balloons, college flags attached to the antennas and who would have thought it – blinking lights. We drove through the procession with our windows open and heard the teachers, administrators and staff addressing him by name, telling him they missed him, that they were proud of him and offered many well wishes and congratulations. The words, the sounds, the actions of those who helped prepare him for his next step brought me to tears. The lump in my throat expanded past the small space where it resides and I was tongue tied. The parade was wonderful and a testament to those at the school. It was a tremendous success, despite my best efforts and without a well adorned car. After we pulled out of the school’s campus, I told him how sorry I was for the lame poster and not doing more to mark this occasion. He said, “Mom, really it’s no big deal”. He wasn’t upset, didn’t feel slighted for not having a decorated car, and I knew at that moment I wasn’t a failure. He saw the bigger picture.
Graduation is officially next week. The school is doing its best by having a ceremony both virtually and in person. The moment when he takes the “Graduate Walk” to pick up his diploma will be one of the proudest moments of my life. It is a culmination and acknowledgement of all his hard work and sacrifice. Being able to share the moment with him as he “walks the walk” in his cap and gown adorned with stoles and cords is the real deal. It is being my son’s cheer leader, the one sitting in the stands without a sign, fully supporting all his efforts, not my lack of artistic endeavors. Once again I have to remind myself – I did not fail.
A Mom Fail?