Where Do The Days Go?

So many times over the years I have heard people say that age is only a number. It is really as well. Mind you, I still remember a number that was much less than 44. As a youth, I almost felt immortal, could see the future spreading out before me, like a mighty highway into the unknown. I saw young people, middle-aged people and old people, people at different stages of life, all travelling their individual highways. I didn’t care where they were heading or how far along the highway of life they had travelled. I only cared about me.

Today is an important day. It’s a milestone for me, a reminder to me that I am no longer a headstrong youth without responsibilities and without the need to worry about tomorrow. Today is the day my son graduated ninth grade. I was twenty-eight when he was born. He changed my life, made me see things in a totally different way. I was now a parent, a proud father.

He went to the same school for nine years. I was working there when he first began, although left when he went into fourth grade. That school was only five minutes away from my home and each morning, on my way to work, I would pass that school and say, “My son goes there.” That’s all about to change.

I watched today as he received his diploma, as he sat in the church with his friends, knowing that next term, many of them will be going to different schools. I shed a tear and I took photos when he stepped out into a cloudy summer in Sweden. Then I walked him home and sat down with him to eat the fresh cream, strawberry cake I had prepared for him. Has he really completed the first nine years of his education…wow!

9th grade graduation cake and celebration

His path is opening up, spreading wayward; stretching out before him. I couldn’t be prouder than I am today.

Here I am, neither old nor young. I am somewhere in the middle, my highway of life spreading away in two different directions. I have learned so much about life, gained experience and have very few regrets. I wonder though if youth isn’t wasted on the young.

I wonder also if my son’s children to be will experience a traditional graduation in a church. Sadly, it is being phased out. The traditions the Swedes have always held dear are now being pushed aside. It is now considered racist to sing the national anthem, to wave the Swedish flag or to go to a traditional church graduation.

I am not racist, far from it. But these are traditions that should never be taken away. The peoples of the world should be proud of who they are and where they come from. It should never be wrong to celebrate something as wonderful as a traditional church graduation. Within the Christian world, the church should always be held with high regard and the children of Sweden should always be allowed to experience a traditional graduation in a church.

God Bless



18 Responses

  1. Gavin and Rosie

    So true,Gavin, traditions are very important and too easily can disappear.

    We should all be proud to sing our national anthem and have our flags fly in the breeze while remembering we are nothing without our faith.

    I enjoyed this post of your day with your son and the great photo. Congratulations and cheers to a bright future for everyone! Thanks for sharing with us in America.

  2. sebastian westling

    true and also very true gavin how can it be racist to sing our anthem ? i dont understand whats so wrong about singing it well well some people are crazy

    1. Gavin and Rosie

      Quite right, Sebastian! I love people and I don’t care where they come from, but I also believe in our basic rights and traditions:)

  3. Eva A

    Need to comment… Having graduation in church is tradition in some places, but not all over Sweden! I had graduations in the schoolyard, in sport halls, in the classroom and just once in church through my own school years. And as a teacher for fiffteen years I’ve been in a church just once, and that was because it was raining so hard it was impossible to be outdoors. I’ve been stressing this point in so many arenas – that all Swedish children has always had their graduation in church is simply not true. And I don’t think it ever was. Though admittingly it’s getting fewer and fewer – happy to give you my point of view on that too if you want it… 😀

    Glad to hear you had a wonderful day with Mick, though! Strawberry and creamcake is perfect for graduation day. And any other day… 🙂

    1. Gavin and Rosie

      Fare point, Eva. I though have worked at seven schools in twenty-one years with a three year break from 2003 to 2006 and all but one have had church graduations. Only the school I work at now has no church graduation. They did, but not any more. I think though that as much as I love the idea of a church graduation, I am pointing to the basic traditions that are disappearing. This isn’t only within Sweden, but all over. I think traditions are important and I respect the traditions within all countries. But I also think it is important that we keep them and that we are never looked down upon by others if we keep our traditions alive. Thank you for you comment:)

  4. Eva A

    I agree with you there – traditions are important for a nation. Very much so – but they do change over the years. Some die away and new ones are added. It’s part of the whole circle. Halloween for instance is very new in Sweden but we embrace it like it’s been here forever… And our (in my opinion) best and (I think) oldest tradition is just around the corner. I will go out then, at midnight, to collect some flowers… 🙂

    1. Gavin and Rosie

      Yes, it’s not long now… sill and new potatos, snaps and strawberries:) Singing ‘Små grodorna’, dancing around the ‘midsommarstång’. These are fine traditions. I am not sure what I think of Halloween, although as a Christian in a Christian country, I really value a traditional church graduation:)

      I hope you have a wonderful Mid-summer:)

  5. Deb

    Congratulations to Mick! What a handsome chap. And that cake . . . looks fabulous!

    Our church (here in America) was chartered by Swedish immigrants and continues many Swedish traditions. We will celebrate “Midsummer” on Sunday, June 24, with an outdoor worship service and a potluck picnic (which we generally eat indoors 😉 . I would be very interested in hearing how Midsummer is celebrated in Sweden today!

    1. Gavin and Rosie

      Thank you, Deb. I will tell him. He had a great time. I have never really celebrated Midsummer, at least not in the traditional way. I am going to this Midsummer though. Well, a little at least. It will be spent with a family who live nearby. She is from Sweden and he is from Montana. It will be a kind of Swedish mix:)

    2. Eva A

      Swedish midsummer… Traditions vary but this is how I remember it from childhood: In the morning we went out to pick flowers and green leaves to decorate the midsummer pole. You can google a picture of one if you like – ‘midsommarstang’. Then we went home to get dressed and eat lunch. Like Gavin said – newly picked potatoes, sour cream and herring, strawberries and cream. In the afternoon we gathered again to dance around the pole. Music was played on the accordion and violins – can’t remember a single guitar but perhaps they were there? We brought a picnic and did a lot of running around. At night the adults went back for some ‘adult dancing’. We children picked seven kinds of flowers and put them under our pillow. Why? To dream about who our future partner would be… 🙂
      Today I no longer dress any poles, but sometimes I go somewhere to see children dancing around one. The potatoes and herring is usually eaten much later in the day with beer and a ‘snaps’ or two… Sometimes we can have that meal outdoors, but to hurridly move the meal indoors because of sudden rain is another swedish tradition… 🙂

      1. Deb

        Thinking about our potluck . . . So the herring was fixed in sour cream? Not sure we have new potatoes yet. And what is a “snaps or two?”

        Rained out picnics . . . makes sense that so many Swedish immigrants settled here!

        1. Eva A

          It’s pickled herring with potatoes, sour cream and chives sprinkled over it.
          ‘Snaps’ is a kind of shot. Vodka or some other booze. Sometimes ‘moonshine’ (is that really the right translation to ‘hembränt’???). Usually drunk after singing a silly ‘snaps’ song. 🙂

  6. Deb

    Oh . . . and I’m not much for Halloween either . . . although I do enjoy the little ones playing “dress up.” 🙂

  7. Gavin and Rosie

    Great conversations going on in this post! Thanks Eva for the information. Found it very interesting that children pick seven kinds of flowers and put them under their pillow to dream about who their future partner will be…

  8. Gavin and Rosie

    Deb, snaps is a Danish and Swedish word for a small shot of a strong alcoholic beverage taken during the course of a meal. A ritual that is associated with drinking snaps is a tradition in Scandinavia:)

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