I felt sentimental about taking Hugh to Dowell’s high school graduation. I wanted Dowell to know years later that Hugh was there for him at his momentous life events: a baby at his soccer game; a toddler at his graduation; a ring bearer? at his wedding.

And when Hugh graduates from high school, Dowell, then 33 (holy!) can smile with bemusement at the thought that Hugh witnessed his Pomp & Circumstance walk, too.

But of course, all Hugh wanted to do was climb the stairs of the auditorium, run back and forth across the aisles, and come up behind older women and, unbeknownst to them, attempt to push their wheelchairs.

Earlier that day, I bought two new books at Target ($8) and a pack of sugar cookies from Starbucks ($2), but my $10 investment only lasted about 5 minutes into the ceremony (that’s $2 a minute, but who’s counting).

The only part of the ceremony that occupied his attention was the audience members who whooped as their child walked into the auditorium, leading Hugh to holler out a whoop in the ensuing silent moments.

Thankfully, Aunt Sissy took him to the lobby, and halfway through the graduation speaker (15 minutes=ONLY halfway), I went to check him on him. The lobby was filled with toddlers, racing around in circles, while parents sat in benches along the wall. Hugh screeched, delighted, racing with a group of unruly boys.

He didn’t get to see Dowell accept his diploma, but I can say that he was there. And that he had a marvelous time.

The happy graduate.