Monday, June 17, 2013
On the Road Again, Part 2 - The Graduate
When I arrived in the city, it was pouring rain. In fact, it rained off and on during the whole trip there. My niece ran outside, her paisley rain boots loudly slapping the puddles underneath her feet, and greeted me with a kiss. She grabbed the dog, I grabbed my gear and went inside. The graduation was supposed to happen later that evening, so I made excellent time. I had barely peeled out of my wet jacket when my sis informed me that the graduation was postponed until the next day because of the weather. What?! You mean I have to spend an extra day in "paradise"? NOOOOOOO! My dad, who had just arrived via plane, was none too pleased either. He had planned on flying out the next day and couldn't change the flight without incurring a huge fee. So after much grumbling, rolling of the eyes and other vivid displays of disappointment, we decided to make the best of the night. We went out for a celebratory dinner at a restaurant of my niece's choosing.
We ended up at an Italian bistro called Bravo. I had never been and neither had my niece, which is exactly why it appealed to her: it was some place new to experience. And she's all about new experiences.
After much deliberation, the petite grad-to-be ordered grilled pork chops and mashed potatoes.
I settled on the grilled salmon topped with capers, roasted potatoes and steamed asparagus. It wasn't bad. In fact, it was pretty good. However, I don't think it can lay a hand on a similar dish served at one of my fave Italian spots, Carrabbas. O.M.G. - Y.U.M.! But the Bravo's version was decent enough.
And then our waitress, the shameless temptress she was, came out with a varied display of sugary wares to woo and seduce us with. But her lavish lure would not avail that night for we had a huge, sugary confection of our own waiting to be devoured back at the house. So be gone, you mistress of mischief! And take your deliciously evil vices with you!
I was praying that there would not be another rain delay... that despite the weather reports, there would not be one drop of dew from the sky to mar my niece's big day. My dad had left earlier and I was as amped and determined as ever after traveling so long and so far to finally see this thing happen. And guess what? My prayers were answered. The day was beautiful! Not a gray cloud in sight as the gaggle of young grads patiently endured the last vestiges of high school life... and then ceremoniously embraced the new life that is to come with a toss of their tasseled caps high into the air. My niece was now officially a high school graduate. She IS a high school graduate. And I could not be prouder.
I laughed and joked with some family members, gave my sister the proverbial pat on the back for a job well done and then bombarded my niece with praise and adulation. I thanked her for being such a caring, loving person; for being a sweetheart of a niece; for being an accomplished student and a downright great kid. I told her to reach for the sky and tried to impart some additional pearls of wisdom that may serve her well during the upcoming months as she heads into the "college years". Such a big accomplishment for a little cupcake. But she did it. She did it.
And as I headed back and steadied myself for the long ride "home", I just kept thinking how this life thing is a trip and a half. Literally. There's just so much to see, so much to do, so much to be had... and only a finite amount of time to do it in. And to be able to experience it all for the first time again through a young one's eyes is like, "WOW!". How amazing.
So proud. So happy. So excited for my little butterfly, the graduate.