The blue tube is what Jim was handed during the Rice commencement ceremony in early May, and the actual diploma was only ready about a week ago.
This past spring, Spencer became more tuned in to the fact that Jim was spending long days finishing up his MBA program. As graduation approached, we talked up the fact that Jim was almost done and wouldn't have to go to Rice University all the time any longer. Spencer asked quietly from the back seat "and then he'll be home more?" "Yes," I told him. And he cautiously asked "will you still be here too, mommy?" "Yes, baby, we're all going to be together." And he smiled big and looked out the window.
After Jim's last class, we explained to Spencer that daddy was going to go back two more times "so they could tell him 'Good Job!'" And Spencer took pride in the presence of the blue tube that appeared at the end of the day.
This Monday, a large envelope arrived from the business school with a class photo of everyone dressed in cap and gown. Spencer took one look at it and asked "is that from when you went to get the blue tube?" Our jaws dropped. He had seen the graduation gown hanging in the closet, but never even seen it worn. How he knew to tie those symbols together was a bit of a mystery.
And last night made me frown in sadness. Jim left for hockey after tucking Spencer in bed. But about 20 minutes later, Spencer was upset about something and when I told him daddy was out he cried "I thought that daddy didn't have to leave any more now that he got his blue tube!!" :( I guess that made much more of an impression on him than we realized...