Rites of Passage

This is the time of year for rites of passage and we’ve had more than our share around these parts.


I registered Peanut for Kindergarten.

Truth be told, it was anti-climactic.  Though I tried to dress it up for a picture, it didn’t feel like much of an event.

Hooray! Paperwork!

I watched my first baby graduate from pre-school.

I bemoaned this event (really?  A 4 year old graduation ceremony?) until I attended it.  I realized then that this was indeed a rite of passage for Peanut.  Not because she was graduating pre-school or because she knew her letters and numbers.

This is a rite of passage because she is entering a whole new chapter in her life.  A chapter of lined paper and textbooks and recess.  Of summer vacations and social hierarchies and assemblies.

Of course, those around me realized long before me that this was an event worth ritualizing.  Not only was she given a cap and gown:

My heart hurts at how grown up she looks.

Peanut also participated in a “bridging” ceremony at our hippy commune church.

She, along with other kids graduating into new chapters (middle school, high school, college) shared a little with the congregation and then passed through our “bridge” at the end of the service.

Peanut dressed herself for this occasion: a princess dress from her dress up wardrobe, her black shiny shoes, some Mardi Gras beads, and my sunglasses (which she removed about 30 seconds before this picture).

Ever the imp.

The whole thing got me thinking about my rites of passage (because, naturally, all roads lead to me.  DUH).  There have been so many important chapters in my life: milestones in my education, marriage, parenthood, etc.

But now that my choices of partner and family are made, I wonder what rites of passage lay ahead.

I’m not talking about career choices – those are important but in my life’s book, they are but a footnote.  I’m talking about the stuff that will be given at least a chapter in the Book of Ryan.


What adult milestones are cap-and-gown worthy?  What rites of passage do we mark (or ignore)?  And which ones should we add to that list?



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