Literally, the minute that I was supposed to be leaving for graduation last week (which was literally about 10 minutes after I was really supposed to be leaving), it struck me how sad it was that my dad wasn’t going to get to see me walk across the stage for my master’s degree.
(It was also sad that my mom couldn’t come to graduation, but as the parent who did not die in 2002, she’s still at a decided advantage in the current activities department.)
I’m not one to wallow in melancholy, however, especially when I’m busy, so I quickly formulated a fix: I would wear something that belonged to Dad, sort of in memoriam, sort of as a good-luck/don’t-trip charm.
I had his old college class ring, his wedding ring and a turquoise ring, pictured above, that I had given him when I was in college the first time around.
The class ring is huge, heavy and just plain cumbersome. And toting around a wedding ring from a divorced man seems a tad unlucky.
Turquoise it was. Only my dad was a big, burly sort, and this ring didn’t even fit on my thumb. I pictured it flying off my hand when I was midway across the stage before noisily rolling an embarrassingly long way under the assembled chairs.
So I was all, OK, I’ll put it on a chain around my neck. But my necklace supply is meager, and a quick dig through the jewelry box yielded nothing suitable.
Time was getting on. I did a mental check of everything I was wearing. No pockets.
The only contender: my watch. I quickly unlatched it, slid the ring onto the band and latched it back into place.
All of this took place in the span of about 30 seconds.
That’s how I took a little piece of my dad across the stage with me. And I didn’t stumble, although I did almost get my crazy-wide gown arm caught on the metal railing around the stage.
Afterwards, I texted mom a couple of photographs. It all felt sort of balanced, parent-wise.
Sometimes it’s best to just go with a crazy urge, especially if you’ve only got one shot at it. Better to do something now that may seem a little kooky than to later regret not doing it.