As per my promise yesterday, I said that I would explain why I was taking a day off and turning this weekend into a three-day one.
In our family, this weekend is graduation weekend – Billy walked today for his Bachelor’s and Marcus walks tomorrow for his MBA. Obviously Monday is a workday, but Major Life Events trump gainful employment.
Anyway, today Billy is getting a tribute post.
Hail to Thee our College dear!
Since today was Billy’s graduation ceremony, we officially marked the end of the third generation of The W Family’s dynastic reign at The University of Minnesota. I don’t know that Mom and Dad ever meant for us to be that family, but for better or worse, we are That Family.
Thy light shall ever be
When we were little, Mom and Dad like to jokingly tell people that they would sing the Rouser to us while we slept. Which is a half-truth, really. We may never know what happened when our little eyes were closed, but I do remember the magnet on Grandma Boots’ fridge with the words to the Rouser on it. And while I only have a few memories of life as a tiny pup (chowing down on fajitas and pink lemonade by Lake Calhoun being one of them), I definitely have memories of us singing it in her kitchen.
A beacon bright and clear.
Billy, for most people, the college search was a grueling process, trying to find a place that “fit” or “worked.” But for you, I think that going to The U was a little bit like going home. Because for our family, when you look out over Northrop Mall, the one thing that’s resoundingly true is that Good Things Have Happened There. In every part of our family’s story, we are breathing Maroon and Gold.
Thy sons and daughters true
Y0u should know that I wouldn’t trade the two years we spent together on campus for anything in the world. Even though we went about our daily lives in completely different ways, when I think of the one person who was fully present for every part of my college experience, save for sleeping through class, It Was You.
Will proclaim Thee near and far.
Billy, we didn’t just go to college together, we got to LIVE college together. As I was trying to make sense of this all in my head, I realized that there was a big difference. Lots of siblings go to the same school but what we got to share together on campus was so very different.
They will guard thy fame
We had season tickets for everything. We worked 50 feet from one another at The Daily. We walked to class together. You were literally my neighbor. I challenge you to think of any other siblings who had to walk across the parking lot in one direction to get a waffle, fresh out of the toaster or the other direction to grab a beer on the porch. Just typing that feels completely ridiculous because that’s precisely the sort of thing that you would never even know you could dream of.
And adore thy name;
As I woke up this morning and marveled at the clear skies, which have become a true rarity as of late, I couldn’t help but to smile. Today was a perfect day for another perfect memory.
Billy, we are all so proud of you. Watching you walk across the stage today was the most bittersweet of moments, as I whispered in Mom’s ear that I was positive you would ask to be acknowledged with the “IV” at the end of your name. While you’ve accomplished so much, with that handshake we watched you walk past that point of No Return, bringing all of us with you.
You will always go back, but it will never be the same.
Thou shalt be their Northern Star!
And so for the next twenty-odd years we will wait, until we can shepherd another generation of Golden Gophers into their dorm rooms before the first day of school. Until we can drag them on campus tours they don’t need or want to go on. Until we can tell them over a hundred years worth of stories.
Because just like Grandpa, Mom and Dad, you and I (and Marcus too…thank God he’s a pure-blooded Gopher), when they stand at Northrop Auditorium looking down the mall, they will already be home.