By Susan Dromey Heeter
I’m not a wedding crasher. I’m a graduation and prom crasher – I feel a proverbial fly on the wall, I’m just around to watch and can leave whenever I want – no photo ops, just lovely, lovely observation – tears and joy, celebrations of endings and beginnings.
This week’s Joyful Musings celebrates those rites of passage, rites of spring, rites of time. And I celebrate the joy in simply observing, joyfully witnessing, basking in the anonymity of being behind the lens of significant moments of life.
Later today I’ll go to the Dover High School’s Grand March where beautiful young men and women will promenade in their best attire, sporting glorious hair styles and magnificent dresses and tuxedos. I like to go in jeans, grab a coffee and wave to students in all their finery. As a teacher, I’ve been going to proms for a few decades now. When I taught at East Anchorage High School in Alaska, I grabbed a friend, we took her six- and eight-year-old daughters and watched all the glory of fashion, nerves, and red carpet fanfare. The girls thought the girls were princesses. And, well, that night, they were.
When I taught in Holland, the American and Canadian students attended prom in a castle – it was lovely and allowed all students to participate in this North American rite of passage. I did enjoy bringing Dutch and Belgian friends to see the glorious fashion and fanfare – suddenly American films they’d watched made sense – “Ah, THIS is prom!” they’d remark. We’d watch and wave and then head out to a café, both grateful and sad not to be teenagers anymore – sharing our stories of our own high school experiences – amazingly alike despite growing up on different continents.
And graduations, too, are beautiful to watch. I especially like when I’m not responsible for anyone receiving a diploma, when I simply go to support and bask in achievements. I weep while watching parents who seem so relieved their child has reached this pinnacle.
There is joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. And it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a kindergarten graduation, college or high school – there is hope and joy in all. It’s all just happy; people are excited. I simply love the energy.
And then I get to leave. Parties are lovely, pictures are great – but it’s even better when I just get to go home and muse joyfully on my own rites of passages – those I’ve experienced in my own life, those I’ll participate in all too soon with my own children.
May you, dear Joyful Musers, enjoy your own pomp or circumstances of rites of passage, of new beginnings, of fresh starts. And if you’ve got a prom or graduation to attend, perhaps I’ll be in the back waving you on…
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.