Rites of passage, whether it is a small family ritual like learning to bait a hook or a government regulated one like learning to drive or vote, every culture has them. Most of the time we don’t consciously think of them in our modern lives but they are there. All too often they are just moments that pass with very little fanfare and aren’t recognized until well afterwards. Events like a Bar Mitzvah and Quinceanera are still held with the pomp and circumstance of a major life event, which they are, but many of us don’t get to enjoy one of these ceremomial celebrations.
Most of us get to cross the stage and collect a diploma, at least once, some don’t even get that (Full disclosure, I completed high school but did not get to partake in that event), we all turn 16 and can learn to drive but there is no grand bestowing of this acheivement aside from the grand taking of the worst photo of you sober posible. Speaking of sober, the 19th birthday is usually a hell of a celebration as we British Columbia residents now get to partake of liquor in the eyes of the law of course not all if us drink and those that do usually regret that party as the hangover sets in. Seems that for most of the modern milesyones there is no grand coming of age or rite of passage, we simply do not commemorate them in grand style, it doesn’t mean they are less important other we still get to become adults with all the rights and privileges it entails.
As of late I have been pondering the growth of my kids (shocking I know, bear with me and I promise something different next week) and wondering what I should do to mark some of the big moments for them, we have established a custom of a TV for the 10th birthday, not that we let them watch endless hours but it does make life easier for the days where what to watch is a brawl. With three girls in my brood I have put a great deal of thought into a sweet 16 party for each of them but then I wonder what to do about the boy in the group. I try to keep them all on an even keel so a name change for his to ‘Stripper 16’ sounds like a perfect solution…or not, I probably would need to explain things to far too many people for that. The irony of me looking that far into the future after lamenting the time that has already gone to quickly in the last few posts is not lost on me, in fact it is that time that has me thinking that I should do more things for them to mark the big occasions, focus on the presrnt for a change. With four kids running around my house there will be plenty of opportunity to properly commemorate the events that mark the path to adulthood, I would like to really make a big deal of them all but the reality is that is not feasible, even if it was just one child you can’t make an event out of everything, that would be both expensive and obnoxious, this is not The Real House Wives of the Fraser Valley.
Find the small moments of acceptance into a new group or milestones in personal evolution and hold them dear. A few years ago when I had been hosting karaoke shows for a while and some friends of mine, who are solid musicians in their own right, bought me a shot of sambuca. Sounds odd, just a drink right? Looking back I felt that I, totally devoid of any instrumental talent and with just enough vocal ability not to be an embarrassment, had been accepted on a greater level, not just as someone that can kind of operate a sound system and run his mouth but as a closer friend than ‘that dude at the pub’. The sambuca comes out when we all hang out at a pub or a party, that stuff is delicious, just a round or two with the boys. No matter how much we have you won’t catch me claiming to be a musician like them by any stretch but I do play the stereo quasi-professionally. Those are the moments that sneak up on us, we don’t recognize them for what they are until we look back and they may not mean anything to anyone else but they mark a moment where the status quo changed.
Big or small, the moments that mark our accession to adulthood and beyond bring us more rights, more privdeges and above all responsibilities, wait….why the fuck do we want these? I’m going to make a pillow fort and read comic books.