I didn’t witness the conversation, as I’d stayed in the car. After all, what nineteen year old young man needs his mom accompanying him into the bank? I did accompany him into town, though. Any chance I have to ride along with that young chap in his car, oldies blaring, talking with him, well . . . that is always time well spent.
He went into the bank the day after his graduation party to deposit the more than generous monetary gifts people had given him. With that much cash and that many checks, the teller obviously assessed the situation and struck up a conversation. “So would you rather have a graduation party or take a trip anywhere in the world?” Evidently, this is the option she’d given her two children. She proceeded to tell my son that one of her children had opted for the party, and the other child had opted for a trip to Hawaii.
Cam said he didn’t hesitate, “Oh, I’d take the party. Getting to see so many of the people who’ve invested in my life was pretty special. It was such a fun day getting to talk with everyone. I’d take the party.”
I’ve reflected on that. As his mom, I’m super proud of his answer, and no, this is not an indictment on any graduate who would choose a trip over a party. My reflection concluded that it wasn’t the party he chose.
It was the people.
Rest assured, with a reduced guest list and a minimal food line due to Covid, my son’s party comes nowhere near to many parties with their ice cream machines, or chocolate fountains, or food trucks, or a full meal.
Yet, our yard was full of people. People who love him. People who made an effort and took time out of their lives to wish him well, check in with him, and see him off into his next season of life. Let’s speak the truth: going to a graduation party is an act of service on the part of the attendee. If one is going for “the food” or what one will receive “from” the party, one probably won’t be breaking even. If it’s not about people and love and caring, what is it about?
One of the things that always makes me extra sad at a funeral is the timing of our words and emotions. Why do we wait until people are dead to say how important they were, or tell a funny story about them, or say how much we appreciate them? Why don’t we do that when they are living? Wouldn’t that mean more? Seriously, my dad has already heard the eulogy his grandson will give at his funeral and my mother has already heard the eulogy her granddaughter will give for her. I don’t think that’s weird. I think that makes sense.
When I think about the truly best moments of my life I think of the people and conversations at my wedding, our “Welcome Home Celebration” of God’s faithfulness we had in our local high school gymnasium after the wreck, my daughter’s high school graduation party, and now my son’s high school graduation party. These were the moments when it all “convened;” Cam’s friends, Alissa’s friends, my friends, and Chad’s friends. Chad’s extended family. My extended family. People from church, people from school, people from sports, people from theater, people who have always extended us grace, people who haven’t always extended us grace, people who make us laugh, people who make us think deeply, people from our childhood, people from our adult life . . . the list could go on and on and on.
I’m with my son. I’ll take the people. I’ll take the love. I’ll take the moment where they put my plans above their plans. I’ll take the same questions asked a million times. I’ll take the laugher. I’ll take the oddities. I’ll take the joy.
I’ll take the people.
Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.