In frightening similarity to this year's month of May.... our most recent sad and heartbreaking occurrence was immediately followed by a joyous and long anticipated occurrence. We arrived home from Ottawa in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday and after work and unpacking, we jumped in the car early Wednesday morning and drove 3.5 hours to Antigonish to witness Michelle's and Scotts' X Ring Ceremony.
It was unbelievable how much excitement was throughout the campus. Students start their countdown on their very first day on campus. 1179 days til X Ring. A lifetime of time to a brand new university kid.
After spending so much time away from work, I felt pains of guilt for taking yet another day off to go to "a ring" ceremony. But we understand the importance of the X ring, and the significance of receiving it, and fortunately my friends and co workers understood as well. The day was gorgeous. A nice quiet drive for Terry and I. Much needed, as well, even though we spent the last 5 days together, we hardly got to speak to each other. 3.5 hours in the car, taking the same route we have taken for years with our kids in the back seat to visit grandparents... the drive on X ring day was full of funny stories, memories of drives and visits to Cape Breton. We had time to reflect on the past few days, as well as the changes in our lives since those long drives to and from the island.
We arrived at the kids apt and Michelle answered the door dressed in her grad gown, and Scott dressed up in his custom made three piece suit from his dad's adventures in the Middle East. Very handsome, both of them. We had quick hugs and snuggles with the kids and their pets and then we started our short walk to campus. I thought there were sort of nuts.. walking through town with black robes on... but once we got closer to the university, it was like a scene from HARRY POTTER. 1000 students in black robes moving at great speed all towards the big Keating Millenium Centre where the ceremony would take place. They walked us to the parents room.. the big gym next to the arena. Parents are not allowed to be in the ceremony...but the university was kind enough to stream the video camera feeds to a big screen for over 1000 parents and families there to witness. The master of ceremonies was herself receiving her ring this day, as well, and therefore her unrehearsed enthusiasm and overly large smile was so genuine that it melted the hearts of all parents. Although we were in the other room, I felt like I was right there.. the excited permeated the walls and floors of the gym. I cried through the singing performances, I held my breath while they recited the oath of St. Francis Xavier and I shivered when I saw both Scott and Michelle tap their large gold rings on the tradition wooden kneeler of the cathedral, that was brought in to the center for this specific purpose. Tradition was in years gone by that the ceremony happened in the Big University Chapel and at the end of the oath.. the students tapped their rings on the pew ahead of them. Since the ceremony has gotten bigger over the last 30 years, they have had to move it to the Arena and that tradition has had to be reinvented. I can tell you, these new X Ring receivers did not feel cheated by this change, whatsoever!I have no pictures of the kids receiving their rings, but there are tons of pics afterwards with hands proudly pressed to their hearts (conveniently showing off the ring!) A family of friends who started this journey together.. Scott and Michelle... Friends united by the X ...... and girlfriends forever
Vanessa and Mick started their journey at St. FX together as roommates... so cool to intertwine fingers together 1179 days later!
Its an awesome reward for these kids, and a great honor for us to have been a part of their day. I am so glad I went.