05:41:08 am on
Saturday 13 Jul 2024

Another Graduation
Matt Seinberg

I think back to my high school graduation, in 1976, and how my parents must have felt, their older child moving on to college. I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I didn't know how to go about it at that time.

Career decisions at eighteen.

During my senior year in high school, I decided I wanted to be on the radio, as a disc jockey. Did I really need college for that? Probably not, but I did learn enough about radio and other things to get through life, even though I didn't end up on the radio as a career.

College, in 1976, cost $5K for two semesters! Today, that barely covers one semester at a state school, if you stay home and don't live in a dorm and use food services. For a student to go away today, it's $24K for two semesters.

Today, my younger daughter, Melissa, graduated from high school. Yes, I teared up when they played the video and the music played, all those corny sayings played on the video screen. I finally realised what she's been saying to me lately, and I quote. "Dad, I'm a strong, independent woman."

When did that happen? When did my little baby become a woman? I still think of her as a teenager, with all the angst to fill a room. When did she decide to have a boyfriend and why is so damn nice? I can't even think of using the Louisville Slugger on him.

As I'm sitting in the stands watching all these kids get their diplomas. I'm stunned, in a bit of a fog. I met many of these kids when they started kindergarten, with Melissa, all those years ago.

Kira and I exchanged our secret greeting.

When we were outside, I saw one of these young women. That first day came rushing back at full speed, as if it were yesterday. Kira has grown to be, dare I say it, a strong, independent woman. We started "a thing" way back then, with each of us holding out a finger like in "ET," and saying "You," at the same time.

When we saw each other, our fingers went up, and "You" came out of us at the same time! She gave me a big hug and said that she couldn't believe that I remembered the signal. I told her of course, I never could forget, it was our thing through the years. She was so happy and that made me happy as well.

There are always trials and tribulations in high school. Melissa made it through it all, with the help of her friends, especially her best friend Kayla. I don't think she would have had nearly as much fun or made it through without having Kayla around. When they first met, they didn't like each other, but soon got over it. Kayla became a favourite houseguest, almost like a third kid without the responsibilities.

Melissa has no idea what she wants to do in college. She's going to a local State University of New York (SUNY_ for at least one year, maybe two, depending on her grades. My thinking is  why send her away, at $24K per year, if she has no idea what she wants to major in and the first two years are liberal arts anyway.

Although she doesn't agree with this, she resigned herself to it. I don't want to put her in debt. I don’t want to put myself in debt, either.

I remember when my sister, Elyse, graduated from high school. She took a year off. Then she went away, never to live at home again. She knew what she wanted to do and accomplished it. She became an optometrist because of eye problems she had as a little girl.

Dad is more than a walking wallet.

All I can hope for my kids is that they make they own imprint on the world, do what they love and love what they do. I will always be there for both of them and can help and protect them as only a dad can. After all, a dad is more than just a walking wallet; am I right?

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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