Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Last One Out

My youngest sister graduated college this weekend. Almost the whole family was there, which was great—one cousin couldn’t attend because of work, but my wife and daughter and I, my sisters, my dad, my aunt and uncle, my other uncle and his girlfriend, my cousin’s wife, and my other cousin and his wife and their little girl were all there. The ceremony was nice, the speaker was great, the departmental ceremony was also nice though the speaker was awful, and we got to spend time hanging out with my sister and her friends, who are all very cool. All in all, it was a good two days.
The drive there and back was another matter.
I used to love road trips. I suspect I still do, under the right circumstances. My wife and daughter (in her car seat) and I crammed into the back of a small sedan for five hours or more is not that circumstance. We drove down with my aunt and uncle for several reasons. First, price—flights are expensive. Second, ease—when you have kids the amount you need to bring when traveling multiplies exponentially, and so taking a bus or a train or a plane becomes more difficult as you balance five or six large pieces for a single weekend. Driving down means loading a trunk or back seat, which is easier. Third, synchronicity—my aunt and uncle were already planning to drive down from here, and offered to take us along for a share of the gas money.
Sad how these things always sound fine in our heads. You’d think we’d learn better.
I won’t go into all the details here, other than to say that the drive was long and stressful both ways. We saved money but lost time and also paid too much in anxiety and irritation.
But at least the graduation itself was good—between arriving and leaving again we had fun. And now my little sister is a college graduate. All four of us are officially adults. Pardon me while I feel old.
The only downside to the actual graduation was that my mother was not there. Times like this, when the whole family is gathered, just serve to remind us of her absence, and how much we miss her. But I know she would have been proud of my sister, and pleased to see all of us having such a nice time. And eating so much. Many of our family gatherings have centered around that very same combination of celebration and consumption.


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