We ending up staying a day more because of issues with our airline tickets (a long story but it all ended up OK in the end).
There was just so much, I'm kind of still taking it all in.
Here's a hodgepodge of highlights in chronological order:
* Feeling so grateful during a Math department reception (Devon got his degree in Math) as I watched how that department at West Point interacts. It's like they're all a bunch of smart people who love math and get excited about it together. The department head commented about the commitment level of the professors; how periodically they'll come to him with a student or two requesting to teach some specific topic that really interested both the professor and student(s). As department head he explained that he always reminds the professor that they still need to teach the core curriculum and that the professor is always fine with that, he or she just wants to teach an additional class simply because of an interest in that topic. I felt like the relationships there were much more similar to what most people get in graduate school than at the undergraduate level; the deep investment of the professors into their students amazed me. Devon has already had the opportunity to get published a few times in scholarly journals (the type most of us don't read but still, if you're into that, it's a big deal). I'm so grateful that God blessed him with such a mentoring situation.
* Deeply moved during the Catholic Baccalaureate Service (I want to write more about this later).
* Being both fascinated and proud as I watched the parade the day before graduation that symbolically depicted the separation of the graduates from the core of cadets.
* Awed as I observed my son and 19 other people including myself partake of the rehearsal dinner that Devon absolutely insisted on buying. As we sat there in that room to ourselves in a Japanese restaurant celebrating, talking and enjoying one another, I couldn't help but recognize that my son really is now an adult. It's a feeling that I don't know how to describe.
* Feeling honored and humbled during the formal graduation banquet the night preceding graduation. Recognizing the noble tradition of which Devon is now a part. Enjoying the opportunity to watch the awe of Devon's 2 younger brothers during the festivities.
* Totally overwhelmed by the graduation. So many people, such pomp & circumstance, listening to President Obama speak and watching him shake the hand of my son after Devon received his diploma. I couldn't help but think how cool it will be for Devon to be able to tell his children some day that he got to shake the hand of the president of the United States when he graduated.
* Scarcely able to take it in as I watched and took part in the "pinning" ceremony that symbolically marked my son's taking on the vocation of a second lieutenant in the United States Army.
* Totally unable to take it all in, overwhelmed to the point where it took on a surreal feel as I watched Devon and Ginger get married amid all the beauty, symbolism, ritual and tradition of a Catholic wedding. (I want to write more about this later)
* Grateful throughout the entire wedding reception as I observed all the true blue friends, support, and mentors that Ginger and Devon have in their lives. There were 2 friends of Devon's that he's known since high school who graduated from West Point 3 years ago and are currently stationed in Germany, who flew all the way there just to be present for Devon during his graduation and wedding. He had 4 friends from high school who are from extremely modest financial situations who were there for graduation and the wedding. Ginger had an entire family of 6 who the father is an enlisted professor at West Point who was Ginger's official "sponsor" but who became so much more. Both he and his wife wanted to especially welcome Ginger into their family and lives because they desired the strong role model she could provide for their daughters. The fact that they became a second family for her was evident throughout the rehearsal dinner,pinning ceremony, wedding, and reception. I adored the fact that Devon's friends were such total dancing fools without even the presence of alcohol. Because of the timing following graduation, the wedding was at 10:30AM and the reception at 1PM. Due to these times of the day, the reception involved all the elegant hors d'oeuvrs, delicious buffet, and music & dancing of a normal wedding - minus the alcohol. I found this lack refreshing.
For me these experiences of watching the separation of my son from our family into his own family, the consciousness of his adult standing, the knowledge that my son has entered into a profession of service to his country during a time of war - these are all new experiences. These somewhat overwhelm me to the point of not really seeming real.
What about you, have any of you already had those experiences of watching your child become an adult? Leave the nest and get married? Enter into a dangerous profession? What was it like for you?
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