May 19, 2006

Dressed in black

The guest speaker I heard last night was young, just about eighteen. He was tall and thin and dressed all in black -- black dress shirt, black dress pants, red and black tie -- with a headful of shaggy dark hair. He was introduced as a musician, a snowboarder, and a scholarship student who planned to study math and science. For a kid his age, he seemed amazing self-assured as he got up to the podium, tossing his hair so that we could see his eyes.

The event was an awards ceremony for eighth graders, and this young man talked to them directly, giving them some insight as to what they could expect from the high school he was graduating from. He joked about the way junior high teachers warn about those strict high school teachers, and he said: "Don’t believe it. The teachers here will support you and help you out, just like they always have." He told them they would have more freedom to choose their courses, a more flexible schedule. "In fact, you can have lunch three time a day if you’re clever."

The audience laughed at his jokes, and the eighth graders seemed to be listening intently. He spoke sincerely, talking about the need for balance in life, and he argued that sleep deprivation is not such a bad thing. He talked about the times he has stayed up all night to play music or play cards with his brothers.

The guest speaker was, of course, my own Boy in Black. It is a tradition that the valedictorian at our high school is the guest speaker at the junior high awards ceremony. The idea is that giving a speech in front of hundreds of people in May is good preparation for giving a speech in front of thousands of people in June. It’s supposed to be an honor, although Boy in Black did not see it that way: "So it’s like punishment for doing well in school? Now I gotta write a speech?"

I’d known how I would feel when I saw him up there at the podium; my daughter gave a speech at the same event two years ago. And yet still, I was not prepared. Could this articulate self-possessed young man (looking soooo different in dress clothes) be the shy little boy who would never let go of my hand, the toddler I carried on my hip, the chubby baby who nursed constantly?

Another child all grown up.

39 comments:

Leslee said...

That is just amazing. Does Shaggy Hair Boy feel like he's got big step to follow in?

Girl said...

Great....now you've made me get all teary eyed, and it is hard enough for me to breathe as it is.

Thanks.

chichimama said...

Aw. Congrats to him and to you. You made me teary as well.

will smama said...

(o)

AND an award for the most subtle mention that you have two valedictorians (so far) in your house.

jo(e) said...

will smama: Oh, I wasn't trying to be subtle. I brag about my kids all the time. I am a big believer in bragging about kids.

And we actually have three valedictorians in the house. I was valedictorian from the SAME HIGH SCHOOL, 27 years ago ....

jo(e) said...

leslee: I used to worry about whether or not Shaggy Hair would feel a lot of pressure, following in the footsteps of his ridiculously overachieving siblings, but he has so many of his own and different talents and has so much self-confidence that I don't worry about it any more.

Anonymous said...

Fine then. My crush on BoyInBlack is official.

SuperB

comebacknikki said...

That's so sweet. :)
Congrats to him.

DaniGirl said...

Wow - I feel maternal for Boy in Black after reading about him for so long. I'm so proud!!

Okay, if this is what lies ahead, maybe my boys can grow up after all. What a lovely moment for all of you!

spiral said...

Yeah, for you and Boy in Black--I felt like I could see you it from your eyes.

Sally said...

wonderfully told jo(e).... and a wonderful ocassion... I pray that he will keep that self assurance and confidence throughout his life...

Terminaldegree said...

I love your family.

And I love the way you brag about your kids. (Yes, really. As a teacher I see that my students whose parents are the proudest are also the students with the most self-assurance. Good for you!)

Kelly said...

Aw, congrats, Jo(e)! Best of luck to the boy-in-black.

Piece of Work said...

That's awsome, Jo(e)!

liz said...

I love BiB. He is so cool!

claire said...

Excellent, BIB! The bloggy mamas are proud of you!

peripateticpolarbear said...

yay Bib! Does he have plans for next year? Do we get yet another pseudonym

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

Congratulations Boy in Black!

Last week I read a student essay that described someone as a “valid Victorian.”

Queen of West Procrastination said...

I got all misty, reading this. You have a good family, Jo(e).

kate5kiwis said...

WOOT WOOT
cheering for boy in black and fabulous momma!!!!!

susan said...

I think one of a mama's most important jobs is to brag on her child(ren), although you brag much more eloquently than most of the rest of us. Good for all of you!

ccw said...

I'm all weepy.

Congratulations to Boy in Black!

Liesl said...

What a sweet post, and, I'd imagine, the evening was a bittersweet moment for you.

Congratulations, Boy in Black!

will smama said...

You are right, we should brag about our kids. I think what I really meant was: the award for bragging about your kids without being obnoxious about it.

Sue said...

Congrats to Boy in Black!! What a wonderful evening for all of your family to remember.

Sarah Sometimes said...

Congratulations indeed....

Seeking Solace said...

Cheers to you and the Boy in Black!!! He sounds like an awesome guy! But his mom is pretty awesome too!!!

Songbird said...

Congratulations to you all!

Friday Mom said...

Congratulations to BiB! I love the way you brag.

MaggieMay said...

Wow!-- congrats to Boy in Black and to his mama.

Colleen said...

I'm all teary-eyed now, and I have a feeling that my husband is going to come home to a blubbering wife who will launch at him with the war-cry of "FILL ME WITH YOUR BABIES!"

BTW, from what you wrote, Boy in Black wrote a great speech!

timna said...

congrats!
I like those traditions -- in the family and at the younger kids' school.

jo(e) said...

I was out of town (and offline) last night, visiting my brother in Camera City so that I could see Drama Niece in a play, and it was really nice to come home to all these comments. Thanks everyone!

Tabitha Grimalkin said...

This is a wonderful post! Congrast to Boy in Black and to you for being such a fantastic mum!!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Oh congratulations, jo(e)! You must be so proud.

halloweenlover said...

I'm so proud of Boy in Black! It sounds like he was wonderful, as usual.

3 valedictorians! I love it!

kate5kiwis said...

what a fabulous experience for you all. i love the way you write about your family. i bet they luv ya to bits !!!!!

Jody said...

What a great story. I keep thinking, you are the most lucky mom. I would love for my kids to turn out just like yours, or even a little bit like them. It's good to have something to aspire towards.

ArticulateDad said...

Sweet reflection. I'm late to the table as usual. But wanted to add my thanks.