Saturday, June 3, 2017

Graduation and Pancakes

My husband works graduation every year. Some years are uneventful -- no one sneaks in a deflated beach ball or forgets to wear a tie -- and other years bring interesting challenges -- hair color not in standard hues or phones making their way out to the procession. This year, as has been the case for the last few, G is in the honor court. Selected by students, he sits alongside the graduates responsible for a row of students. He gets to watch them all night.

It is an honor. He appreciates the recognition. And, he gets to wear a gown. No mortar board, just the gown. 

When Chris graduated, G serving in honor court worked in our favor. I only had to worry about three people, the girls and I, finding seats, and Chris was just a few rows up from G. They were on the same side of the arena. Picture taking was a breeze and keeping up with their faces was not a problem. Both knew where I was and could find me in the crowd.

Chris graduated on a Friday. This year, Lee graduates on a Saturday night. So much for a family fourth part. 

We did go to the pool, but then as G left, I thought he was just going home to relax. Then, I remembered, he had graduation. With a start time around 7 p.m., he had to be there about an hour or so earlier (I think). He saw us lazing around in our post-pool wear and he was suiting up. Bless him. One, it is about 200 degrees today with a high percentage of humidity. Two, it's Saturday.

Aside from graduation, we have only one official activity on the books. The girls have a birthday party to attend tomorrow. This morning, we bought the presents -- buying for an eight-year-old boy is a challenge. Thank goodness for Legos and water guns. We also bought some other necessities at Target. La Croix, bathing suits, magazines and a swan float. 

Yay. We go to the beach Monday. I cannot wait. This is the only week-long trip we can take this year. Camille's Simone Biles program only allows for one week off and we jumped at the chance to get out of town. Port Aransas and Island Retreat are as familiar as G in the Lee graduation honor court. We know what to pack, what to wear, what to do and what to eat. 

I'm making a couple of casseroles -- millionaire spaghetti and King Ranch chicken -- along with desserts -- Trader Joe's vanilla cake and Rice Krispie treats. Then, we're packing up the cooler and the truck with all sorts of chips, cereals and snacks. I'm bringing almonds and Tone It Up protein bars because yeah, I'm on Weight Watchers.

The girls and I have started packing because I'm doing that cooking and assembling tomorrow. My fourth part will come Monday through Thursday next week. All day. Each day. The biggest effort is loading up the truck to go down to the beach to set up our tent, chairs and towels. Oh, and making a few sandwiches to go with us. 

Because the counter tops were full with beach fixings, I opted for an easy dinner tonight. Bacon and pancakes. Emptied the dishwasher and ironed while making dinner. (Maybe a few of the pancakes were browner than recommended.) The girls and Chris ate it up. I even ate a few pancakes. I had enough points left for dinner that I could -- and drink a Chardonnay that paired nicely with the buttery cakes. Come on, who cares about the pairing? It's Saturday. It's summer. And, I had four points available for the wine.

Fourth parts in the summer are sometimes so usual, you hardly notice them until you are a few hours into them. I've been watching season three of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix for the last hour or so and didn't even know it was almost 9 p.m. I've been going strong with a fourth part since about 7 p.m. This doesn't include the few hours we spent at the pool or the time after our Target run. 

I have to remember that fourth parts are a well-deserved right and during the summer are almost luxuriously effortless. I have to hold on to these moments because they don't come as long or as often during the school year.

And, just like those Lee graduates, I have to remember the days past are important as they influence the future. But, those future days have to be curated. They have to have purpose and meaning. They must have fourth parts intermixed with the other parts.

They must have a few extra points allowing for pancakes. 

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