On Sunday, the family attended one son's university graduation. I was moved not only by Etienne's giddy, gowned delight, but also by the intense pride that radiated from the graduating students, shown in their shining young (and youngish, for the PhD.s) faces, the whoops of families, and even in the tangible pleasure of professors who were given teaching awards.
His alma mater, a large urban university, is known for the diversity of its student body and its dedication to equity, social justice and activism. Riven by a bitter labour dispute, the university was closed by a strike for nearly three months during the last school year, resulting in a chaotic extended schedule for classes and exams.
Though opportunity is a value of all educational institutions, the ideal rarely leaps off the institution's crest and into a crowd's collective heart. But surrounded by hundreds of grads, families, bouquets, the timeless pomp of the academy and our boy's enthusiastic, confident chatter about what's next, I felt the noble ideal come to life, as optimism and love suffused the hall.
I find myself deeply moved at certain ceremonies, even if not directly involved. Le Duc discovered me gazing from a Montreal hotel window at a wedding in the courtyard, teary and suffused with sentiment. And funerals? Even if I pass by in a car, I will be touched, and wonder about the life lived. Boy Scout inductions, christenings, parades, museum openings, bar mitzvahs, even elections stir me.
I revere community, celebration, the reminder of the values that strengthen society, especially participation and inclusion. Fortunately, I can hold it together for store openings and product launches.
Well don't I sound...Canadian? And of course I sound like a proud parent, too!