Thursday, 28 June 2012

Graduation Day!

Tonight is my son's Grade 12 Graduation Ceremony.  I feel so proud of him as he has grown into a caring, considerate and fine young man ready to take on the world.  I am filled with nostalgia as I relive memories from long ago that doesn't seem so long ago.  I am filled with joy for being healthy enough and strong enough to attend his graduation tonight.

Eighteen years ago, I was holding a three month old baby boy.  We lived in our first house which had very little insulation but had room for little children to run indoors as well as outdoors.  We had almost an acre lot.  The summers were very hot as the windows and walls were thin.  We spent most of our days outdoors in order to keep cool.  I had a very large vegetable garden and my son used to like being put in the wheel barrow and wheeled around.  As a baby, I would have him in the old steel baby buggy we had or he would be in the playpen in the shade with the mosquito netting on.  As he grew, he learned to pick the peas and beans from the garden.  He enjoyed eating them raw and would help himself to snacks as he played outside.

The house had a slightly open floor plan.  The kitchen was separated from the dining area by a half counter and the dining area was separated from the living room by a half wall.  The kitchen/dining area had a long wall that created a hallway off of which was the nursery (the small bedroom), a linen closet (we used as a pantry) and a bathroom.  At the end of the hallway was another bedroom and the hallway began in the living room.  The combination of the kitchen/dining room/living room and hallway made for a long oval circle which my son loved to use as a track as he became a toddler and preschooler.  During the Summer Olympics in 1996 (I think?) he ran around the track and pretended to be Donovan Bailey, Canada's premier sprinter at that time.  During the Olympics he also pretended to hurdle boxes that he laid out along the "track".  He would jump off our sturdy coffee table as he pretended to be an Olympic diver.  The "track" in our house was also used as a stock car track.  My son had a plastic racing helmet which he would put on.  I had made him racing flags using the appropriate coloured felt and dowelling.  He would bring out the racing flags and inevitably he would hand them to me, my husband or his grandparents to wave and start the race.  He was always a local driver Bill "Moon" Mullen who was my son's hero.  He would vroom, vroom and then be off as the green flag was waved.  I can't count the number of times my son would race around the "track".  He would even convince his grandmother to race with him! She was always tired after her visits.

We inherited a little house on stilts which we put in the yard for our son to play in.  It had a little window with a swinging door that could be latched shut from the inside.  This building became our son's ice cream hut.  He loved to play in there and then open up for business.  We would come up to the window and receive our make-believe ice cream cones.

As our son was little, he would sit on his father's lap as they cut the grass using the riding lawnmower.  My son thought this was wonderful as he got to help steer the lawn tractor.  Somehow he would again be pretending to drive the race car as they cut the grass.  The yard was where he learned to bat a ball using a plastic bat.  Although he had been "playing baseball" since he started to walk.  In the winter, he would use an empty paper towel tube and a rolled up ball of tinfoil to play baseball indoors.  His grandma would toss the ball to him and he would try to hit the tinfoil ball with the tube.  We were always proud parents when he hit the ball.  When he graduated to swinging the plastic bat and hitting the plastic ball in our yard, we would cheer and he would again pretend to run the bases as if he'd hit a long home run.

One summer, my husband decided to introduce our son to golf.  He took an old driver of his and cut the shaft down so it was a child sized driver.  Our son hit the golf balls around the yard for hours as he tried to get some lift on the ball.  One time, my mother was visiting and we were sitting on the back deck while our son was hitting the golf ball around the yard.  The only rule he had was that he could not go in front of the house to hit the ball.  That was our way of keeping him away from the busy country road and also keeping our cars safe in the driveway.  There was plenty of room for him to hit the ball in other areas of the lot.  Anyway, we were visiting on the deck and we heard a big "BOOM".  Our son was not in sight and I had a sinking feeling that he was out in front of the house.  My husband went down the side walkway towards the driveway.  My son was terrified and had a look of extreme remorse on his young face.  He had hit the golf ball and it hit our car just under the rear passenger window on the driver's side.  There was a perfect hollow on the door panel where a golf ball would fit.  That dent was there even when we traded the car in years later.  I was just revisiting this memory with my son the other day and he admitted that he had been getting "great lift" on the ball and had decided that he could hit it over the car.  At the time, I was glad that it hit our car and not my mother's!

We have spent many years watching our son play baseball throughout the summer.  He loves the game.  He started umpiring and is becoming a very good umpire.  Coaches have approached us, knowing the umpire is our son, and have been effusive in their compliments in regards to his control of the game and patience with the young players in house league games.

I have so many wonderful memories from my son as a baby, toddler, preschooler and all the way to being a young man.  He's graduating tonight and I am so proud of who he has become!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post about your son, Cathy. So much love and admiration in it. I felt as if I was watching a movie of his life as he grew from a baby to a young man as you told it. Congratulations to him for his graduation. May his future be bright and happy, and always with good health. It's no wonder he's grown to be such a fine young man. Look at his parents!