It’s summer! It’s graduation time!
I haven’t paid any attention to these signposts for a long time. After you’re not in school for long enough, its importance just kind of melts away. For years, I noticed graduation season as that time when YouTube starts putting up graduation-related clips.
However! Summer has become relevant to my life again. We hang out with two teenagers a lot, and they’re both in middle school. Ugh, middle school. So they’ve been counting down the days for a while. (Also, during the summers, we get to hang out with them during the day, which is nice.)
My husband is also in graduate school part time, and he’s going to graduate in a few days after turning in a final project, and he is SO RELIEVED, I can’t even tell you.
Back to the kids, the older teen (I shall hereforth call her Adelaide) had her “promotion ceremony” from middle school last night. One of her friends came over, and they fussed over their makeup for a longer time than usual. (Adelaide is into really dramatic makeup–cosplay-type makeup.)
I didn’t dress up for my middle school graduation. I mean, I’m sure I wore a nice dress. I’m equally sure I didn’t spend time primping. I was just happy to get out of there.
Adelaide is happy to get out of there, too, but she’s also feeling sentimental as she stands on the brink of high school. “I cried so much my eyes hurt,” she told me last night, a few hours after the ceremony. “Still.”
I’m her friend, not a parent or anything like that, but I still feel proud that she’s made it through all the trouble and drama and awfulness that is middle school. It’s a hell of a gauntlet.
Adelaide’s life as a pre-teen is super different than mine was. I mean, I was certainly not doing makeup or ready to date anyone when I was that age, while Adelaide is a bit of a swain.
I really get hung up on how much queer rights have changed. When I told Adelaide that I hadn’t met an out trans person until college, she was floored. She’s openly pansexual, and she publicly dates other girls. Some of it is because we’re in a liberal city, but a lot is just sheer cultural progress.
I think about how my friend Clay came out at fourteen in high school, basically because he had to – no one was going to accept him as straight. The hate and disdain he got even when he wasn’t dating anyone was extreme. His family kicked him out for a period of time. He ended up taking a lot of drugs, being so isolated and miserable.
While Adelaide? She wore a rainbow tie to her graduation in support of queer rights, and so did her friends.