So, this happened.
But first, some family showed up in town to celebrate the two of us. (Although this was my graduation, The Professor didn’t walk in his August graduation, so we treated this as a celebration of both of our accomplishments.) My parents, his parents, and one of my sisters arrived on Friday evening, just in time for a party on campus.
We handed over our (free) tickets and wandered in a very crowded quad, which was full of booths with free food and soft drinks. A band played some rockin’ tunes and Jack boogied. Liam boogied, too, but also spent a lot of time trying to escape. We ate a great deal of lovely food (it was pretty good, especially for having been mass-produced off-site!)
The party was lots of fun, but was just the run-up to the main event(s). The next day, we would have (and take) the opportunity to attend two commencement ceremonies: the unified ceremony, which took place in the Superdome, and the law school ceremony, which took place in the slightly less awesome campus basketball arena. I wanted to go to both, because the unified ceremony was supposed to be pretty amazing, and the law school ceremony (while much more boring) is where I would actually get my name called. The kids got dragged to both as well, because I didn’t want anyone to feel like they had to miss out in order to stay home and play babysitter. (I know, I know – missing out on a long-winded grad ceremony would be a bonus, right? But they drove a long way, so I presumed they all wanted to see it.)
The Professor, being a professor at my institution (though not the law school), was able to don his crazy outfit and sit on stage at both of my ceremonies. He enjoyed lording that over me, but in truth it was nice to have him there in his official capacity and not just as an observer. That way, I wasn’t the only one in a ridiculous puffy hat. :)
So the Dome ceremony was great. After walking for miles and miles to get to the correct area of the stadium, I made it to the robing room, where everyone was milling about getting dressed. I have mixed feelings about law school and the legal profession as it is right now – the cost of education, the misleading employment statistics, the poor work/life balance of many firms, the failure of the ABA to put any kind of limit on the number of JDs flooding the marketplace (brought up in our commencement speech! Our student speaker had no fear!) Anyway, the point is even with all of those feelings, I put on that robe and felt kind of like a rockstar. I am part of an ancient and (despite the jokes) respected profession, and wearing that silly garb drove it home.
We eventually lined up and filed in, and got to observe a commencement ceremony that was heavy on the flash and pageantry. It included a procession of bagpipers and pennants, a ton of drunk undergrads, lots of second-line-style hanky waving and parasols, a pretty impressive amount of high quality jazz, and short, appropriate speeches. A student gave a lighthearted and funny speech, and then Lisa Jackson impressed as keynote speaker (EPA Adminstrator, and NOLA native). She referenced the fortitude of New Orleanians rebuilding post-Katrina, included us that sweep (we chose to come here right afterwards, after all, and be part of the rebuilding process), and then told us that the rest of the recession-weary world could learn from us about perseverance and struggling with grace. Commencement messages are tricky things this year, but I think she nailed it. At the end, there were even fireworks, shooting into the vast cavern of the Dome while balloons and streamers and glitter rained down from above. I was impressed.
We met outside the Dome for pictures afterward, and then headed home to rest up for the afternoon ceremony. The afternoon ceremony was more dry . . . the speeches were longer, the room was hotter, the boys were miserable. I got inducted into the Order of the Coif – an honor society thing for those of us in the top 10% (holla), and about ten years later it came time for me to line up to walk across and take my degree from the Dean. A professor had told me that it’s tradition to take up on stage any children who have been born during your law school tenure. Well, I couldn’t take one boy without the other, so Jack and Liam both came across the stage with me, and I got some cheers for that, let me tell you! I will take whatever accolades I can get after these three exhausting years.
Afterwards, we took a few photos outside, went to the reception in a neighboring building and ate ten pounds of cheese (approximately), took a few more photos, and then came home and collapsed. All of the photos are unflattering (hat hair, what what), except this one, with my future coworker:
And that was graduation. The next day, we said good-bye to my family, and then went to our last service at our beautiful church, where I wept several times. In the afternoon we did a little packing and a little relaxing, in prep for the next day, when the pod arrived. That was yesterday, and with the help of the Professor’s tireless parents, we filled that bad boy almost full. We have a couple of days til it gets picked up, during which time we will put a few more things in it and clean the house. And study for the bar. And manage our children, who are a little unbalanced due to all the change, but also very excited about spending the summer at their grandparents’ houses.