Saturday will be Daniel’s graduation party before he walks on Sunday in the graduation ceremony. Of course, there are some who proclaim Saturday to be another kind of graduation: the Rapture (with a capital R). Instead, being exempt as a Jew, I’m planning to attempt the rapture (with lower cast r) of watching my first-born graduate, and in doing so, I also want to take back the loveliness of the word “rapture,” which means being transported into a state of ecstasy.
There’s the rapture of the storm this morning as I lay under blanket with a sleeping cat on my chest, thunder and lightning, and the pounding rain. There’s the rapture, a little one, of drinking the morning coffee while in the bathtub. The rapture of a baked sweet potato. The rapture of seeing an old friend after a long absence. The rapture of how lily-of-the-valley smells. The rapture of singing, full-voice, with the windows open while driving fast toward the mountains in high summer.
I’m excited about the rapture of watching this coming of age of my son, who so didn’t fit what the child-rearing books said about babies and then young children that I ended up ripping some of those books apart with my exasperated hands. I’m looking forward to the steady small rapture of seeing my mom’s smiling face when I pick her up at the airport today, my daughter tomorrow when we arrive at my friend’s house (Natalie is flying into Wichita), my dear and oldest friend and her husband, my beloved cousins-in-law. I’m excited about the rapture of the food I ordered by Bella Luna (the best Lebanese restaurant in the world or at least Kansas), and going to sleep in a Hampton Inn before waking up on a sun-filled Sunday to head to Newton. I’m happy to be showing our moms the lovely little campus where Daniel has studied everything from organic chemistry to deconstruction to how it feels to run trails in all seasons.
And when it’s all over, I’m looking forward to the reveling in the rapture of home. If anyone does ascend beyond this planet, I wish them well, but for me, the magic greening all around those I love is rapture enough to stay.
Pictures: Daniel’s first graduation, on Ken’s back in 1990, and Daniel at the Kaw River this year