Not everyone enjoys December holidays. For every memory of joyful family traditions, there are other memories. Life does not stop – which is why the holidays can never be as perfect as we imagine.
Holidays are about the past. They remind us of something important to an individual, family, or group. The month of December is filled with separate special days representing several traditions, culminating with New Year’s Eve – a day every group following the Gregorian calendar agrees is celebrated on December 31st. I sometimes wonder if New Year’s celebrations are more about saying good-bye to holiday stress than a welcome to new events.
But not every December occasion is about the past. For many students and families, it is time for long-awaited Commencement Ceremonies. Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Degrees are awarded at many universities. Finally, students are launched into the next phase of their personal and professional lives. At last, they begin a future different from their past.
Uncomfortable in hot academic robes, eager students sit on hard metal chairs, attentively listening for that moment when the college chancellor tells the undergraduates, “You may now move your hat tassels from right to left.” They have completed their education. Master’s Degree Candidates wait impatiently for their turn. That special moment when each is called to the stage and invested with the academic regalia symbolizing his or her new professional accomplishment.
Yesterday, my son received his Master’s Degree in Education. I am proud of him. The Handsome Bloke, our extended family, and Guide Dog Legend waited patiently for that magic moment. I cried.
Next December this Commencement Ceremony will be a joyful memory. This year, it marks a turning point in my son’s life. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Photos by Author. All Rights Reserved.
Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.
Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.