My beloved husband graduated!

Seventeen years ago, my beloved husband dropped out of his masters' in computer science program to go to Japan. While he took a few classes here and there afterwards, he was still short four courses.

This how he came to take two classes each during the past two quarters. This was in addition to working full-time, serving on the boards of Marriage Equality California and EQCA, singing with the San Francisco Symphony chorus, and taking part in numerous marriage rights-related activities. This is a lot. I'm amazed that anybody could do it.

I assume that I helped. It's hard for me to quantify exactly what I did that was different, since he still did almost his fair share of the household chores (instead of more than his fair share like before). Partly I just didn't ask much of him. For example, I didn't ask for any help in prepping the front door for painting. Regardless, I felt really busy with him in school, and certainly I missed having as much of his attention and affection.

Thus I was very ready for him to graduate. So was he. We were both thrilled when Stanford University informed him that he had completed all the requirements for his Master of Science degree in Computer Science!

He originally wasn't going to go through commencement -- he was a little embarassed about it, feeling that he'd had his chance seventeen years ago -- but I and others persuaded him that no matter what happened seventeen years ago, this was still something very much worth celebrating.

On the day of graduation, he was a bit late and so just carried all his commencement regalia over to the staging field in a tidy little black bundle. (That was probably a good move -- I remember that the gowns were hot!) I kissed him and went into the stadium, assuming that the classmates he said he was meeting up with would help him make himself beautiful. Little did I know.

At the appointed hour, a great cheering mob of students raced onto the field, complete with an amazing variety of costumage and paraphenalia. There were students dressed as palm trees and sea dragons. There were people throwing beach balls around. There were thirteen students dressed up in the individual letters A-L-P-H-A-C-H-I-O-M-E-G-A. There was a giant S made out of red balloons. There was even a crew that set up a slip-and-slide track. But there was no husband that I could see.

I started sending frantic text messages from my phone to his.

Me: Where u  
Jim: Take a seat, enjoy show.  See if you can ID me.
Me: Enjoying show no prayer of finding you w/o fish on yo head o something

I was expecting, hoping, waiting for him to tell me where he was, something like "now nxt 2 balloon S" or something like that. I got a little annoyed that he didn't give me clearer directions. How on earth was I supposed to spot him in that mass?

Still nothing.

Then more people started entering the stadium, this time in ordered lines walking in single files, with different hood colors in each line. "Ah," I said to myself, "the graduate students. He'll come in soon."

More orange hoods and more orange hoods and more orange hoods came in the stadium, passing about fifty feet below me. I kept looking and looking -- you'd think I'd be able to pick out my favorite husband, especially since he was probably one of only three students in miles with a red beard.

Still nothing.

Me: Still no c u

I looked up from my cell phone and saw him! There he was -- with a giant duck on his mortarboard, in homage to the duck I wore on my mortarboard when I got my BS! For those of you who don't know how his mind works, this was his way of saying thank you to me for two quarters of him being missing, and I knew it immediately. I just went nuts, hooting and a hollering.

Me: I cu!!!
Me: O my love, o my love!
    Hard to wear, isn't it?

He'd managed to keep it a secret from me, which was also impressive. That trip over to neighbor Ron's on Wednesday to talk about the condo association's garage repair? They actually spent most of the time drilling holes into the mortarboard. The phone call from the classmates he was going to meet? Ron, asking if he should drive the duck over yet. Jim taking his gown over in a little bundle instead of wearing it? To hide the fact that his mortarboard wasn't there.

Yet again, he made me happy that I married him.

P.S. A lot of people thought the duck on my mortarboard was a goose, but it was actually, genuinely, a Pekin duck, the most common domesticated duck. I think Jim's bird truly is a goose, but that doesn't matter. I understood.

Ducky Sherwood