This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
As a journalist, covering high school graduations is the bane of my existence.
That’s not to say reporters slack off when covering them. We realize our articles will be cut out, put in scrapbooks and sent to relatives, so we take it seriously. But we also have to cover at least two of them every year and they are all the same. Pomp and Circumstance, throwing the caps in the air, and 4-5 speakers who all say something along the lines of:
“As we look to the future and pursue our dreams, we’ll never forget our time here.”
“I have high hopes for our class. Our future is just beginning and surely we will change the world.”
“I won’t miss school lunches or Mr. (insert name of strict teacher here)’s science labs, but I will miss all of you.”
Not to mention parking is always a nightmare, you’re dealing with pushy relatives who all think they should be at the front of the proceedings to take 8,000 pictures of their graduate and you’ve always got that one white trash family hootin and hollerin and trying to get their son or daughter’s attention. I dread graduation stories for weeks before they happen, and today I have two of them in a row.
But these are my first graduation ceremonies as a new father, which puts them in a slightly different perspective. Then I started thinking of Will and his eventual graduation. And I could see everything so clearly…
It’s 2026 and my little boy is 18 and graduating from Bourne High School. Of course, I shouldn’t call him little since he’s 6’4″, 240 lbs of solid linebacker. He’d have to be to lead his football team to a state championship. But his football accomplishments don’t define him. Neither does the state baseball title he helped his team win. Nope, I’m proud of his smarts and the valedictorian next to his name says it all.
Despite the fact that I used to hate all those pushy, overbearing parents at graduation, I arrived two hours early to scout out enough seats for the whole family. Me, MJ the proud mama, my parents and MJ’s parents and step-family…all sitting in the front row. Some other people jump in front of us temporarily but my wife nearly assaults them. There will be no interference or obstructed views today.
As the superintendent runs through the names of the graduates I squeeze MJ’s hand tightly and exchange proud glances with her. We can’t believe our little boy is all grown up and how successful he’s going to be. First the Patriots tried scouting him right out of high school, but imagine our shock when the Red Sox did the same. We told him we’d support whatever his decision was, but we were happy he insisted on a college education first. Harvard is a good school and he’ll be a good addition there. Maybe he’ll put some of those Ivy League snots in their place over the next four years. After all, he’s about as well-rounded as you can get. Even though the guitar is just a hobby for him, he’ll always have that record contract offer to fall back on in case things don’t go well at Harvard or professional sports.
His name is called and the crowd goes wild for him. Especially the five buxom blondes in the third row. The kid isn’t without his flaws, after all I told him he really should choose one girlfriend out of the five but he’s always been a little indecisive. We’ll have to work on that. But now it’s time for his speech and the crowd falls quiet. He begins to talk:
“Ladies and gentlemen, friends, parents, teachers and fellow classmates. Thank you for supporting us here today. It’s been a long, fun ride but here we are ready to go out and conquer the world. I’ve had a lot of great people in my life helping me out along the way, but there’s one in particular I want to thank today. Dad, you’re the best. You’ve taught me how to be a great athlete, a good student and a good person. You’re the best dad a kid could ask for and I’m so glad we’ll always be buds. Thank you dad for everything you’ve done. I love you pops. Come up on stage and take a bow.”
After all the hugs, kisses and congratulations MJ and I jump in our hover car and head back home, knowing we raised an exemplary human being.
What? Unrealistic you say?? Maybe. But a dad can dream can’t he?? =)