June 1, 2018 my nephew walked across a stage to receive his high school diploma. Years ago I thought the day would come that I would see my own children do the same. For various reasons that I will not elaborate I do not have any children. I wanted them, it was just something that never came to fruition.
It was the usual graduation. Lots of speeches, most of them a shade too long and overly earnest. I am a bit of a cynic and I hardly believe every graduate will save the world or have a major impact. Events like this are not for the audience anyway, they are for the young adults marking a rite of passage. There were close to one hundred eighty in the graduating class. My nephew is special needs, he walks with the assistance of a walker and he has some other issues, the result of a childhood battle with cancer. When he crossed the stage and was handed his diploma you could hear the cheers from members of his graduating class seated off to the side that had already picked up their diplomas before him.
I met up with him and his parents after the ceremony at a local pub for drinks and dinner. He is eighteen and can have a drink here in Alberta. They were already seated. I had my nephew stand up, I gave him a big hug, told him I watched him get his diploma, and congratulated him. He has been volunteering at a senior centre and as a gift they got him a fedora that he was wearing. My sister's son looks damn sharp dressed up in dress pants, shirt, tie, and the hat. It suits him. He looks different somehow. Beer was ordered all around and I ordered an ounce of Scotch for him, his father and myself just because you should celebrate with proper alcohol. I picked up the tab for the evening since I ordered the drinks.
I kept thinking about my father. I wished he could have been there. He died before a few years before his only grandchild was born. All I could think about was if he was alive there was no way he would have missed this. Hopefully, somewhere, somehow he did.