Today we started celebrating the graduate, Mr. David Custer. Dave is wrapping up his time here at UC Santa Cruz and about to embark on a nearly eight week trip around the US. But before he hits the road next week he has to walk across that stage tomorrow morning and collect that non-Arnold Schwarzenegger signed diploma, Jerry Brown is just not quite as cool is he?
How do we celebrate Dave's accomplishments? The family gathers from all over the country and gets together to drink Seabreezes and wine, eat, catch up, reminisce and give each other grief. Aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, parents and siblings fly in from Alaska, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Colorado. And typically someone's late, someone drinks too much, we complain about travel hassles, talk about old family memories at the Shore or Dave and his brother Chris when they were little, their dad's deep love of Christmas lights, or discuss birth certificates and beer choices. The private room they tucked us in at the restaurant gets louder. We talk over each other, the laughter increases and the poor waiter checks in on us less frequently. But we all have a fabulous time.
Joe and I headed out after dinner but I know that the party continued after we left, though the grandparents looked a bit dead on their feet, the night was just getting started for Dave and Chris. As it should be, this Dave's night, Dave's weekend, and after graduation tomorrow morning bright and early I guarantee there will be more reminiscing, more family and most assuredly more celebratory drinking! Bottomless mimosas anyone?
Dave constantly gets the question, what's next? Job? Graduate school? Moving? Career interests? I don't think Dave knows yet. And the one piece of advice I have for him, in honor of the Dustin Hoffman classic The Graduate, is not "Plastics" but "Don't rush." This is that magic time of your life when you have no major expenses, no mortgage, few obligations and the chance to do or try anything. So don't rush to make any decisions. Take chances. Risk yourself. And don't get locked into anything too serious too soon. But Dave doesn't need my advice. I think he's got this part already figured out. He's California laid back. He's smart and has wit and youth on his side. I wish I'd had things half as figured out as he does when I was that age. So good luck, kid, you'll be great at whatever you throw yourself into, whenever you decide what that might be.
(I had great pictures that Joe took from tonight but the hotel wifi keeps cutting out so I can't upload them. I'll add them when we get home.)