Saturday, June 4, 2011

Do What You Love

Seeing this picture of the graduates throwing their caps into the air brings tears to my eyes as it did when it occurred earlier this afternoon.

The ceremony started with the playing of my son's composition, which took a moment for me to figure out was his because he added orchestral parts. When I asked him about this later he told me he had composed the string parts his last two days of school. The piece was even more amazing with the addition of the orchestra. I wanted to scream into the audience, "My son wrote this!" But most people were talking and preoccupied with their own families and kids...

The message that came up over and over in the speeches by staff and students was to do what you love. Just a few weeks ago I voiced my reservations about my son majoring in music. I suggested he focus on criminal justice. When I mentioned this to my sister she asked me why? I told her I felt there is more stability in that field vs. music. She replied, why should I doubt that my son might make it in a music career - he certainly has the talent.

After today, I am ready to say to him, "Just go for it." Every night he is at the computer composing music and every day I come home to a notebook left on the sofa with the words to a new song in it. It is what he loves.

My son's half-brother attended the ceremony with his wife. He is a teacher like his dad, 10 years older than my son. He gave my son a gift check and a card in which he wrote the words their father had written to him upon his graduation, a few years before his death. My son was very moved by these words. They were to the effect to do what you love but to not forget to be of service to others. My son cried and felt that his father was a part of this special day. And I was reminded of the strength and character my late husband always demonstrated. My husband, the man who loved fine arts, music and teaching history. But who gave tirelessly to the community and others.

I think my son inherited these gifts from his father and I. His musical talents and his kindness and compassion to others.

The music director is submitting my son's compositon to a national competition as an entry. I believe my son is already a great winner.

We celebrate milestones with special ceremonies like this one today. All this talk about doing what you love makes me realize that that is still one area in my life that I have to work on. Going to work as a restaurant hostess has quickly lost its appeal. I need and must do something with my life that has more substance and meaning. It is not so easy to rebuild one's life on so many levels - it takes time, planning and sometimes must be put on hold because other aspects of life require more attention, such as raising kids and getting them through high school.

Today was my son's day and a very good one at that. But it is also a wake-up moment for me to see that there is still work to be done on my end. It is funny but after eight long years of widowhood and only parenting, I'm not sure what I love anymore. I thought the library assistant program might be an option but there aren't any jobs in that field in the state Sam resides and where I will be moving next year. Back to square one.

But in the meantime I will reflect on this special day and the wonderful four years my son had in high school. I could not have asked for any more for him in regard to a positive high school experience. The teachers as a surprise, lined up in the hallway to clap for the students as they progressed out of the gym. Apparently the line was delayed because my son hugged all of his teachers as he saw them. My friend, a teacher at the school, told me how well my son is liked by the staff. Would he have been as popular and as much of a school leader if his father hadn't died? I guess I tend to think we pretty much are who we are, although I have no doubt that my husband's death has affected my son's overall outlook and spirit.

I was unaware of how difficult from an emotional level these past few weeks would be. Now that it is over I can see how much I wish my husband could have been by my side celebrating in the success of a very talented young man, his son.

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