I was heading to a graduation ceremony for a week-long day camp. To me, that’s like graduating from Friday at midnight. But I tried not to appear cynical.
Granted, it wasn’t an ordinary day camp with tie-dying and tether ball or whatever. It was a very cool space camp with two rooms set up like an actual mission control and two others set up like a space lab. It was also a Christmas present from my mother, and my son had — pun entirely intended — a blast. (Thanks, Hommy.)
So, at 2:15 on Friday, I found myself among a smattering of parents and grandparents watching a graduation ceremony for a large group of boys and two girls at space camp.
First, they all received their interplanetary passports, complete with extremely cute photos that, I admit, I will probably order more of later.
But then, as with so many graduation ceremonies, the crushing disappointment began.
The lead counselor, er, commander, announced that two campers, one from the Alpha group and one from my son’s Beta group, would receive an award called “The Right Stuff” to commemorate that camper’s high level of leadership, etc. She reported that the commanders had a very tough time narrowing it down to two kids out of so many great ones. I saw my son perk up until…the commander called someone else’s name.
Then the commander acknowledged the two campers who were selected by their peers to represent them in a mock presentation of their teams’ space shuttle designs to “NASA.” Again, she called someone else’s name.
Then the junior commanders, a bunch of high school kids in polo shirts and khakis, announced which of the two teams won the shuttle design contest. The lead junior commander announced…not my son’s team.
I thought, Isn’t this what the school year is for? Can’t a momma catch a break?
But my son seemed unfazed by it all. Rather, he seemed content simply to have attended the camp, which, in this 21st century hyper-competitive society, felt anachronistic.
How about that? A kid who’s just happy to participate. Maybe the modern adage isn’t true. Maybe not “everybody is special” every day, after all.
When we left camp, we stopped to play mini-golf with some friends. There, my son came in second place, losing out to his buddy by just one stroke, another potentially crushing defeat.
But he shook it off and invited me to play tennis in the driveway when we got home, proving that he really does have The Right Stuff. I, on the other hand, have an order for photos of my son in a NASA suit pending.