Monday, June 23, 2008

Memoir Mondays: A Graduation Story

Lennye has been participating in Memoir Mondays and I don't intend on doing all of them...but I think I will do this one because it is a graduation story...

I graduated from Crawford County Comprehensive High School on June 6, 1996...6/6/96...very easy date to remember!

It is difficult for me to remember how I was feeling on my graduation night. I know I was excited, but also a little sad because I was scared of change and would have been content living my life in High School with those same friends that I was very close to. I didn't want the future to change things even though I knew it would, and of course it inevitably did. I was the sap who cried at the end of the ceremony.

What I remember most about my high school graduation night is that my Dad did not come. Not because he was sick, not because he was out of town, not because he was at work. He did not come out of purely stubborn, selfish reasons. A few months before there was a banquet partly held in my honor. One other person was receiving an award that evening and I didn't know this at the time, but it was an old, retired teacher that taught my Dad when he was in high school. (We graduated from the same high school.)

My Mom and I didn't think to invite Dad to the banquet where I was receiving a Youth Achievement award from the Chamber of Commerce and Dad's former teacher was receiving a sort of lifetime achievement award. Neither one of us thought to invite him because I was 18 years old and he had NEVER shown any interest in attending anything school related of mine. He never met any of my teachers, never attended a parent teacher conference, open house, awards ceremony, and never had the responsibility of picking me up from school if I was sick. So why would we have thought to invite him this one last time? Yes, we should have invited him...but at the same time, he could have been the ADULT and said that he wanted to go. Was he waiting for a formal invite from me handed over on a silver platter with a rose?! And what really hurts me about it, is that he wasn't even upset that he didn't see his own daughter receive a great award, he was mad and pouting that he didn't get to go see his former teacher receive his award.

So, to "get back at me" basically, he didn't attend my graduation. My grandfather and step-grandma came, numerous other members of my Dad's side of the family--and of course everyone on my Mom's side...but no Dad. He used the excuse that he had to stay home and work on his car. That would have probably been a great excuse if it was the vehicle he would have needed for work the next day...but it was an extra Volkswagon beetle that he was repairing for fun. Nice excuse. Mom later told me why he really hadn't come and I was so furious with him. I later forgave him for not attending, but I still think there's an open wound for the principle of it all. He SHOULD have loved me enough and been proud of me enough, to attend my graduation no matter if his feelings were hurt for not having a stinking formal invite to something months before or not. He should have.
Oh and that Volkswagon beetle...turned into a really awesome car with a custom sparkly red paint job...that he told my mom would have been my car if I had shown interest in being out there with him while he fixed it up. Excuse me?!

Once again, punishing me for something I didn't even know anything about. Whatever, I didn't want a non-air conditioned stick shift that I couldn't drive anyway. Mom tells me all the time that he is proud of me and who/what I've become. But he never tells me and I get tired of her acting like he is so sweet and sentimental and telling me that he tells it to HER all the time. I NEED to hear it, not her. People need to see it, they need to feel it. I'm sorry if I'm someone that you need to tell it to me directly. I don't like receiving my love and praise through a third party. It's just a little hard for me to believe. That's just me.

I'm sure he has long forgotten that he happened to not show up for my graduation. And though I don't hold it against him anymore, Alzheimer's will be the only thing that makes me forget. He really has made some wounds and poured salt in them over the years.

I only walked for one Bachelors Degree in college and Dad did attend. I wore a fake sunflower on my cap so my family could spot me easily and just because that's how I rock it! During pictures I stepped in an ant bed and Dad rushed over to help get them off of me. :)
Oh and a funny story...during my high school graduation I forgot my diploma underneath my chair on my first time walking had to swing back around with the next row and grab it, it made for funny video footage!

Here are a few pictures I scanned in from both graduations:
These were a few of my very best friends in high school-Dyana, Amanda and Erica. Amanda even wore a sunflower dress because of my favorite flower and nickname! :)


debrennersmith June 23, 2008 at 5:58 PM  

Family relationships are hard. Be strong!

Stacey from Two Writing Teachers June 23, 2008 at 6:13 PM  

I love the use of repetition as to why your dad didn't come.

Kevin June 23, 2008 at 6:15 PM  

I'm glad you could balance the frustration of part of your story with some humor. But it is too bad that you dad did not come to that ceremony and that the memory still lingers with you.


monkey June 23, 2008 at 10:44 PM  

isn't it funny how parents sometimes forget that they are, um, THE PARENT. yeah, not really funny at all. it's a universal truth that children do not care one iota what bullshit is going on in your head/heart/life/day. they just want you to be there, to show up, to care enough to put them first. the end.
oh, and feel free to remind me of this if i get out of line with my own baby :-)

Anonymous June 23, 2008 at 11:00 PM  

Talk about writing the things that matter -- when we write close to our hearts, that's when we can write for real. Thanks for joining us.

Lennye June 24, 2008 at 2:17 PM  

I commented on this last night! Then it got lost!!! My computer has issues that I've had enough of at this point. Anyway, I hope to always be mindful of how our actions affect those around us.

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