This Sunday, B graduates from William and Mary with his MBA. Normally, I would not be impressed at all by this. It's his 147th degree, 140 of them being graduate degrees. I have about 127 of my own, all of which are now framed but stacked under the bed along with my discarded journals and the wall sconces that I can't coax into working any longer but can't seem to part with because I'm an amateur hoarder. Graduations get old. Caps and gowns get old. Guest speakers get REALLY old. B wasn't even going to walk until I threw a hissy fit and made him. Why? Because this degree has one difference. It's his first post-marriage, post-kids degree. It has been three years in the making-- three LONG, continual, year-round years of B being gone several nights a week, devoting weekends to homework and projects, basically STEALING MY FUCKING YOUTH AS I CARE FOR HIS DAMN OFFSPRING. Basically what I'm saying is I'M GRADUATING. I may not have taken Consulting or World Economics, but I scored an A in Teaching Both Kids To Fucking Read And Add. Night after night I have assisted with homework, cooked dinner alone, applied itch cream, handled baths, administered Motrin, located the one missing shoe needed for gym class, packed lunches for the pickiest eaters on earth, gotten the minions to bed, killed a bottle of wine and I HAVE PREVAILED. They are smart and they are thriving. I AM GODDAMN MOTHER OF THE YEAR. When Blaker walks across that stage, I will be hand-in-hand with him in spirit.
Which makes it ironic that B's graduation is to be held on Mother's Day.
Yes, for Mother's Day I'm going to The College of William and Mary's Business School Graduate Student Graduation (I totally just named that myself). At 8am. On a Sunday. Did I mention it's on MOTHER'S DAY? Just wondering.
I say this as if I am all worked up, but to be honest, I really can't complain. After all this time (from both of us), work (from both of us), and tears (only mine and the kids'), we can finally move on from this chapter in our lives. B has a new (paid for by his company!)degree that can open doors for us in the future. We may move overseas. We may pursue opportunities in other parts of the U.S. We may sell the kids to the gypsies, lease our home out as a House of Ill Repute and become permanent vacationers in Cabo (hey, we could live a LONG damn time in Mexico off of what we already have saved in the kids' college funds). None of us know what the future holds, and I'm just so psyched that B will be home most evenings that I don't even care that I'll be spending Mother's Day sitting in a folding chair on the lawn of Miller Hall at W&M applauding my husband (side note: the blow is also softened by the GORGEOUS new dress I bought for the occasion and the navy satin ruffle stilettos I found to match. Hey, it may be HIS day, but I still plan to look smokin' hot).
DEAR JESUS HOLY HELL.
Sorry about that. I was blogging, and then my neighbor showed up and I started talking to her about how I ate five of the toffee bars that she made yesterday and nearly went into diabetic ketoacidosis and how awesome it would be to contractually marry her daughter to my son even though both are under the age of seven, because then we could be in-laws and it would be AWESOME, even though she's moving to Okinawa in a few months so she'll have to leave my preschool-age daughter-in-law with me for two years, and she was pointing out how yes, it would be fucking AWESOME AS ALL HELL FOR US but when the kids were going to Children of Alcoholics meetings as young adults and refusing to invite us over for Thanksgiving it wouldn't be NEARLY as awesome as the rest of the time. And I was all "Yeah, you have a point. Want to get together and drink wine tomorrow?" and she was all "Are those your Mother's Day presents wrapped and on the kitchen counter?" and I got distracted and then she left and I was like, "Hell, YEAH, there ARE presents there." And then B said I should open one.
NOW. Side note. B has been "working on" this gift for me for some time. He has talked about trying to figure out how to make it. He has met with other people about the best way to go about it. He has hidden in the garage and done "secret shit" a lot. I haven't had a fucking clue, and honestly, I haven't thought much about it because I figured "secret shit" was just code for "avoiding my drunken, obnoxious wife" which is fine, because I totally avoid MYSELF about half the time. But anyway. So THIS GIFT I WAS TO OPEN WAS THAT GIFT. The one he had been working on. I was almost nervous because what if I didn't like it? I'm terrible at faking liking things that I don't. WHAT IF THIS GIFT THAT I WASN'T EVEN SURE I WANTED TO OPEN CAUSED THE WHOLE WEEKEND TO GO INTO FREAKIN' MARITAL LOCKDOWN, STAT STAT, BECAUSE I WAS MAD THAT I HAD A STUPID PRESENT AND HE WAS HURT BECAUSE I DIDN'T LIKE HIS STUPID PRESENT?
Okay, Resume, please.
SO I opened the gift. And I burst into tears.
Side Note #2. Over the weekend of February 18th, we rented a giant beach house with a group of friends in the Outer Banks and basically spent three days with the kids locked in the basement and ourselves perpetually drunk (with the exception of one poor friend of mine who is currently gestating a young 'un and couldn't imbibe like the rest of us-- you have NO IDEA how sorry I feel for her for being stuck us our drunk asses for the whole weekend). HOWEVER, on the 18th, which is my Dad AND my (paternal) Grandpa's birthday, both to whom I was extremely close and both of whom I have lost, I sobered up, got up early, and went for a very long run on the beach. I never saw another soul. I ran half the time with my eyes closed. The sunlight was gorgeous, the sky was a fury of pinks and purples and blues and golds, and for just a little while, I could feel my Dad besides me, appreciating the peace. Reveling in the beauty. Before I left and headed back to the house, I picked up a little purple and white shell that was lying in the sand by itself. It reminded me of my Daddy, because he knew purple was my favorite color and so he would always bring me purple things (ink pens, flowers, etc). The shell was smooth and oval, slightly smaller than a quarter, and I tucked it into my pocket as a talisman, to touch and remember the feeling of seeing my Dad in the sunrise over the ocean. When we returned home, I slipped it into my jewelry box and touched it from time to time, thinking of our weekend. It made me happy.
Okay, Resume Again, please.
Blaker had taken my shell, my DAD shell, and polished it to a shine. Then he had polyurethaned it to a slick, glossy finish. Somehow, he had drilled a teeny, tiny little hole into the top and found a teeny, tiny sterling silver ring to put through the hole. He had bought a dainty, sparkling sterling silver chain on which it could hang, carefully measuring the length against another necklace I love to make sure it was my "favorite" necklace length. In the barest of terms, Blaker gave me the essence of my Dad in a necklace.
He can't give me my Dad back, but he can help me preserve the memory of Dad. He can help me save and enjoy the things that matter.
And that, my friends, is more than I could ever have asked for in a mate. Someone who can take the little things that are important to me, and recognize them for how much they matter. Someone who can give me a present that turns my CRAZY ASS BLOG POST ON ITS HEAD. Someone who reminds me to treasure this life that I have.
I hope all of you are as lucky as I am.