My oldest is graduating from Junior High tomorrow. Having grown up outside of the U.S., I was blissfully unaware of the tradition of throwing “graduation parties” for kids graduating from junior high and senior high schools. It was a puzzling concept to say the least. Where I grew up, it is kind of expected that you would graduate from high school. Junior high at the very least. Not even a question. [Disclaimer: My second oldest brother and his second son never graduated from junior high. But that’s another post I will never write] That being said, I am happy that Number One Son has several graduation parties lined up where he could go hang out with his school friends IN REAL LIFE and hopefully in the sun instead of spending all his waking hours indoors basking in the glow of the computer monitor on Minecraft.

IMO. The best parties are the ones not thrown by me.

I am going to sound like the old lady that I am by telling everybody, “When I was your age, I did not get squat for graduating from high school.” Well, I would be lying. When I passed the entrance exam and got into the best high school, my parents asked me, for the first time, what I would like as a prize. Without hesitation, I said, “Legos.” Legos were luxury goods back then. My parents kept their words and took me to the “American” toy store (Toys R Us) to pick out a Lego set for myself. It was one of those “dreams come true but then what?” stories – I think I enjoyed the fact of owning a set of Legos more than the Legos itself.

The day when the results of the college entrance exam were published, my dad came home with the newspaper and started looking for my name. When he found it, he asked what he could get me as a reward for bringing honor to the family. Ok. Kidding about the honor part. You didn’t really think we talk that way, did you? I told him, “I would like some cha siu bao [BBQ pork buns].” He immediately went out on his motorcycle and brought home ten piping hot pork buns. I ate them all in one sitting, much to my mother’s chagrin. To this day I know what I would say without hesitation if asked what my favorite food is in the world.

I never begrudge my children for “having it better” than I did. And really, are they really having it better? I never felt any want even though we were poor which I did not realize until much later in life, and only in retrospect. Life was easier for me to navigate because there was only one goal: study hard and get into a good school. (Of course, once you got into that good school, you kind of were lost. What now? …)

I am getting restless in anticipation of his graduation, but probably not for the right reason: I am dying to give him his graduation present.




Confession: I also wrote this post not for the right reason: I simply wanted to show you this awesome engraving.




Article by Absence Alternatives

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{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Merrilymarylee June 5, 2012, 9:12 am

    Didn’t realize there were Jr. High graduation parties either. I suppose those kids received ponies when they graduated from kindergarten.

    Congratulations to that thoughtful, intelligent, polite, handsome young man.
    Merrilymarylee´s last blog post…Diamond Jubilee

    • Absence Alternatives June 5, 2012, 10:42 am

      Thank you m’lady! I think you happened to catch him at his best moment. He’s been testing my patience lately. I do know THIS is normal. If he had been perfect, I’d be so worried. LOL.

  • alejna June 5, 2012, 11:29 am

    That is a great engraving, and a fantastic graduation present!
    alejna´s last blog post…a delegate situation

  • Alexandra June 5, 2012, 11:45 pm

    That is such a bitchin’ idea. I still have time to do it, too.

    Thank you so much!! My guy graduates from 8th grade this week.

    • Absence Alternatives June 8, 2012, 10:46 pm

      Congratulations mama! 🙂

      I’m more excited probably than he is about the engraving. LOL.

  • BigLittleWolf June 6, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Well, that engraving is awesome!

    As the parent who hosted all too many teenage parties (and I have the gray hair to prove it), I wish for you a parent’s house where the adults are willing to sleep the kids all night (if that’s okay with you), and watch like hawks (though the little darlings will never know).

    And Junior High? Oh Momma! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! (Enlist help, have LOTS of cheap but filling food handy, and prepare the bedrolls.)

    BigLittleWolf´s last blog post…“Powerful, Significant, and Elevating”

  • Elly Lou June 8, 2012, 5:44 pm

    Holy crap I miss you.
    Elly Lou´s last blog post…Zombie Jamboree

  • Jack@TheJackB June 9, 2012, 11:27 am

    That engraving is worth the price of the phone. Ok, maybe not but…

    Sometimes a good excuse for a party is all we need. In my house we spend so much time running around it is a pleasure to take time to enjoy life.
    Jack@TheJackB´s last blog post…What Would You Do?

    • Absence Alternatives June 16, 2012, 3:31 am

      I agree with your take on “a good excuse for a party”. I think we are going to have a Halloween party this year again just so my husband and I can dress up again. Ha.

  • Velva June 10, 2012, 8:50 am

    Our child just graduated from middle school (a/k/a junior high) we scratch our heads and think why is there a graduation ceremony? Who cares! Lets get them through high school ( a real milestone) and then the best one of all…college woo-hoo! ( fingers crossed)

    I do admit the post was worthy just to show the ipod.

    Velva´s last blog post…Dirt to Table Experience: Fresh Summer Blackberry Cobbler

  • alonewithcats June 10, 2012, 7:13 pm

    “For [Child’s Name]” seems kind of impersonal. 😉

    Congrats to your son on completing junior high. Senior high awaits!
    alonewithcats´s last blog post…But I do like the breaststroke

    • Absence Alternatives June 16, 2012, 3:32 am

      LOL. That’s what we call him – Child’s Name! Get over here and pick up your dirty socks!

  • Suniverse June 11, 2012, 11:23 am

    Love that quote. LOVE!

    I’m not sure about the whole graduation party thing. Shouldn’t you just do it anyway? Right?

    I love this story, too.
    Suniverse´s last blog post…Summertime blues.

  • Dufmanno June 14, 2012, 8:37 am

    This interesting spectacle awaits me exactly one year in the future when my oldest graduates the 8th grade. I told her we’d go to the beach to celebrate after she went to the parties thrown by other kids parents.
    Also, you & I need to start a Minecraft support group. For a year and a half I have struggled to get my computer and now my television ( since it went on XBOX) back from my boys. If I hear one more screamfest about a pick axe or which two elements create this or that, I’m going to throw them both out.
    Ditto on Elly’s comment. I miss you:(

    • Absence Alternatives June 16, 2012, 3:35 am

      Miss you too!

      Yes, a Minecrafters’ Moms Support Group. My oldest got himself a “server”. Oh my lord. Now we have other kids ringning our doorbell with a list of “demands” for him. What?

  • Secret Agent Woman June 14, 2012, 9:18 pm

    Great engraving!

    We did not throw a HS graduation party for my older son. I do think HS is a minimal achievement. We just had a family get-togther with cake and wine all around.

    • Absence Alternatives June 16, 2012, 3:34 am

      IKR? We also had a family celebration and told him that we’re proud of him. Of course I had to add, “even though it is expected that you graduate from junior high. Oh, and senior high also!”

  • melina July 2, 2012, 9:39 pm

    I think jr high mini graduations are great! I never had one. But I think that it’s always important to celebrate the milestones. I am jealous of that iPod!!
    melina´s last blog post…My Year of Fun, 2012-2013

    • Absence Alternatives July 3, 2012, 1:17 am

      Thank you so much for commenting! My son has already cracked the screen of the iPod…. Sigh…..

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