Daughter graduated yesterday with a dual Master’s degree from a legendarily progressive teachers’ grad school in upper Manhattan. Graduations may just be my favorite things in the world and I previously wrote about Son’s and Daughter’s college graduations on these pages and will write about my own when it happens. Husband and I planned to take the train into the city for the ceremony, but as the time approached I got a little hinky that we might run late, so I insisted we catch an earlier one which Husband was baffled but sweet and accommodating about.
That put us on the number 1 train from Penn Station going up toward the Bronx, except at 94th Street the announcement came on for everyone to get off and wait for the next train since the one we were on just changed from a local to an express. My mind was racing that we were going to be delayed and I was so supercharged with anticipation and anxiety that a young woman standing way down the platform suddenly looked so much like Daughter I almost waved. She glanced my way, this fetching brunette in a halter dress, and the resemblance stopped my heart until she raised her hand and waved with a big smile. It was Daughter.
Fate had put us all on the same train and we sat arm in arm the rest of the way. Except for Son, who can’t figure out why anyone with a car would take a train, so he’d be meeting us there with his father, my ex. The ceremony was as rewarding as expected and the dinner we all shared afterward at Mama Mexico, complete with roving mariachi band, was perfect. With hugs and kisses all around, we parted in the rain on 102nd Street for the trip home.
On the crowded railroad back to the suburbs, Husband and I shared facing bench seats with four young women who were nice enough to rearrange themselves to make room for us. Because of the close proximity, it was impossible not to overhear their conversation, and now random particles of their verbal exchange rattle around in my brain mixed in with the words of wisdom and promise from the Grad School invocation. All four of our seat mates were either in college or recent graduates. Let’s call them Amber, Tiffany, Brittany and Madison.
A: So I’m not even like showing yet but my cousin already gave me her bassinet.
T: What’s a bassinet for anyway? Like why not just get a crib?
B: I think they stay in the bassinet in the beginning because they’re like so small. Then when they’re like two years old you get the crib.
A statement like that required me to fully check out the players, so I turned to look at the four trendily dressed young women munching pretzel nuggets and competing for who could say the word “like” with the most repetition while imagining two-year-olds in bassinets.
M: Did anyone like see the ads for Sex and the City 2? It has them like riding camels in Egypt or something.
T: I think it’s Abu Dhabi.
A: Isn’t Abu Dhabi in Egypt?
M: No, it’s the other way around.
B: Wow, I had my big interview at that Ivy League grad school the other day and it was a disaster.
M: What happened?
B: In like the first minute I got asked to name ten of the most influential people of the 20th century and I said “Obama” and the interviewer said like “That would be the 21st century” and I was like, oh shit, what do I know about the 20th century?
T: Really! You were like, what, thirteen?
A: Couldn’t you say like Britney Spears? I mean it doesn’t have to be influential in a positive way, right?
B: I know! I was so going to say Hitler because he came to mind but I wasn’t sure so I said like Gandhi and Bill Clinton and Rosa Parks.
B: She had something to do with civil rights. But then I couldn’t think of anyone else. Really! Ten people, right off the top of my head! It was impossible.
M: I so have to get away this weekend. My boyfriend and I are going to Lake George. Where exactly is Lake George?
I wanted to say “Abu Dhabi” but that would have been rude. Though they would have probably, like, thanked me for the information.
Daughter’s Fotos show teamwork at the Welling Court Community Mural Project in Queens