June 23, 2013

One Down

My oldest child graduated form high school yesterday. He got his diploma. When I started on this particular project, some 19 years ago, I had no idea the work it would involve. I kind of thought kids would raise themselves. Maybe they do, but not this one. Boy, did I spend time in the office with this one.
In flowing robes, picking up that much coveted little paper
But we’ve made it, him with (a little) more sanity left than me.  And it seems everything goes in reverse direction. He was all wrinkled and ugly at birth; his dad said he looked like a bat. Now he is tall (taller than both of us, like it should be), handsome and tan, and well liked by the ladies. I, on the other hand, started out this project as a brunette with a smooth, tight complexion; now I am, well, let’s just say some people mistake it for blonde, shrinking, and even Botox can’t iron out this face anymore.  Something he does not fail to remind me off.  Yesterday, while going sailing, he ran after me on the dock, with a tube of sun-screen, yelling (with a big fat smile) in front of all my friends; “Mom, you forgot your anti-aging cream.”
Yes honey, my anti-aging cream. You need that with kids like you.
Getting ready for the ceremony. This whole caps and gowns thing for high school is something I only know from movies

Lebanon knows, unlike Holland, a great deal of school systems. You can follow the Lebanese, the American or the French system, depending on your passport, or what university you choose to go to (and your finances, I might add. For the less fortunate, the Lebanese system is the only option). Each program has its pros and cons, and even within those programs, there are a number of directions you can choose. His dad went through the Lebanese school system, I through the Dutch. As a compromise, we put him through an American system, one we were both unfamiliar with. Switching educational systems was a learning process for me. I am still not quite clear what GPA and SAT scores you need to get into what study at what university. As such, we weren’t much help as parents; he had to figure out his direction on his own.
But he did it. He’s off to university. For the moment that will be in Lebanon, but who knows what the future holds with the current situation? Will he join the ranks of the many hundreds of thousands of Lebanese high school graduates that went abroad over the years and never came back? I do not know if there is a future for children like him in this country; Mixed religion, mixed race, mixed culture, mixed language.
In Holland, you hang your schoolbag onto the flag pole in front of your house, to indicate you've graduated
Or maybe it is exactly these kinds of kids we need to get this country back on its feet. He’s not a real Arab, but he’s not Dutch either; he’s your typical TCK. Lebanon has always been about intertwining cultures. Maybe he’d make a good president. Oh no, he can’t, wrong religion.
I think it is time for a change in this county. I think our children should ship every politician (of all sides of the spectrum), and every religious leader that dabbles in politics, onto the Mediterranean Sea, and sink the ship. Weigh it down, just to make sure nobody comes bobbing back up and floating back to our shores. Then our children should eliminate all sectarian identification, and start all over again. Yep, that’s it. I got the solution.
These are not all American program graduates; there are some Lebanese program graduates as well, but you cannot see the difference (except in the acceptance speeches; that one was in  classical Arabic instead of English)
Anyway. One down, one more to go. I am proud of him.


Joseph said...

Congrats to your son.

Hopefully he can stay in Lebanon after uni. Won't be easy, but all the best with it.

ehden said...

congrats to you and your son. I thoroughly enjoy your blogs about my home country. Hopefully it can be the latter. he can make some change so everyone can feel safe in Lebanon.

Gray Fox said...

....and proud you should be. Congratulations to both you and your son!

Sietske said...

Thank you!!! But the way thinks look today, I think we may want to ship him out :)

Anita said...


Looks strange all those dressed up youngsters celebrating, indeed only seen in TV-series ;-)