Just a quick note on this rainy Friday to congratulate our Meg.  We spent this afternoon at her high school commencement – where she’s finally officially graduated. 

Also – I know.  A lot of you pointed out when Amanda graduated that holding commencement in the fall is weird, odd, strange or even… wrong.  I assure you that it’s just one way to hoe the row, and it works fine. Anybody who didn’t quite make it has the summer to patch up their last credits so they can still graduate with their friends, everybody has final grades, awards and scholarships in place, and this weekend is Thanksgiving, so most kids are home from University anyway. Fall is commencement time in this part of the world, and it’s a wonderful reunion for all the kids who haven’t seen each other since high school ended, or University started. It was great seeing them all together.  I have a special fondness for Meg’s friend Maddy, who’s spent so many sleepovers at our house that we call the trundle bed under Megans "the Maddybed".  Meg’s going to University here in Toronto, but my Madeleine is further away – and I miss her.   They’ve known each other since they were 5 (seen here stringing beads for necklaces in dress up clothes) 

and I think they’re only improving with age.  What beautiful, bright, successful girls. 

We’re very proud.  Congratulations Meg and Maddy. 
(Both knitters, just for the record.)

124 thoughts on “Commenced

  1. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Happy Graduation!
    How wonderful to see such joyful faces embarking on the world, and it will be so much the better with their gifts.

  2. I am curious about when Canadian colleges start the school year. If high school graduation is now, do the graduates have to wait until next fall to start college, do they start now, or do they start after the holidays? Live and learn!
    P.S. Congratulations to Meg!

  3. Congratulations, Meg! I’ve worked in Higher Education longer than you’ve been alive and I love high school commencements. Oh, the places you will go!

  4. SO nice to see girls growing into young women. Ya did something right there, my dear! In fact, a lot of somethings!

  5. Congratulations to Meg and Maddy and, of course, to Mom … and happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I think it’s sweet to have commencement in the fall. It’s sort of like getting to have your summer break and then beginning your life as a HS graduate. Congratulations on having two out and only one left :)

  7. For marilyn, who asked above about when Canadian colleges/universities begin:
    High school finishes in June. Although students have their official commencement ceremonies in the fall (Thanksgiving weekend, usually), they’ve finished high school in June and their grades are final. Even though they don’t physically have a piece of paper proving they’re done in June, they’re done. Universities and colleges accept final grades as proof of degree completion.
    Canadian Universities and Colleges start their academic years in September, and run until April or so. (Summer courses in the summer, of course). Hope that helps!

  8. OOO I feel a Spock moment coming on
    Live long and prosper, as friends always

  9. Adding my congratulations to the girls for doing so well… and to you for making such bright, pretty, talented kids… because if she has her own bed at your house you did have a hand in making her.

  10. Commencement in the fall strikes us Yanks* as wrong because we don’t do it that way — as I was similarly told once that the backward-loop cast-on was wrong. It was in fact not the ideal cast-on for me to be using at the time, but I wouldn’t go all the way to wrong. I never thought about the advantages of commencement in the fall before, but, being a knitter, I can see that doing it that way makes a lot of sense, even though I’ve never tried it before.
    Yay, Megan! Yay, Maddy!
    *That’s Yanks, not Yankees. Yankees are evil baseball players.

  11. Nothing beats being the proud Mom of strong, accomplished girls. How lovely for all of you. It’s been fun to watch (through the blog) as your girls grow up and turn into sorta-almost-pretty much-adults. Good work, Stephanie!

  12. Beautiful girls both – congratulations to them & best wishes for college. Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family. I don’t know much about Canadian Thanksgiving. Are there traditional stories associated with like our stories of the Pilgrims & Indians celebrating the harvest after a deadly winter? When I was in grammar school back in the 50′s Chicago Public schools had 2 graduations every year – one in June (as most US schools now have – or May) & one at the end of the first semester in late January. Kids born earlier on in the year began school in September & graduated in June. Those born later on in the year started school in lat Jan or Feb & graduated in late Jan. Each grade was divided into 2 groups – so you would have, eg, a grade 6A & a grade 6B. The children born earlier in the year would be in the A group in the fall semester & the children born later in the year would be in the A grade in the 2nd semester. If you have any faith in the theories espoused in Outliers (& I do), that system makes a lot of sense because you do not have children born 11 or more months apart in the same grade. I think they probably discontinued the practice when the Baby Boomers grew out of school age & there were not enough children to justify separating them that way – too expensive. Might not be so many parents “red shirting” their kids if they still used a similar system.

  13. As we say in our family, “Mazal-tov”! How wonderful that you can celebrate this wonderful event in your life. Amazing how quickly they go from 8 to 18. I think I just blinked and now I am a grandma! Hold on it really goes fast now!!

  14. Way to go Megan! Atta girl Maddy! (Whistles and cheers and loud clapping in the heartland.) Congratulations Mom and Dad on another well launched child. Hugs, Alice

  15. Congratulations to everyone! You, too, Mum and Dad!
    In BC (at least, in our district) we do “Grad” in June, including the ceremony where they pick up their diplomas, despite not knowing the results of their provincial exams, yet. I think a Fall Commencement would be a good idea.

  16. Not all Canadians have Commencement in the Fall. Mine all had their graduations at the end of June, usually the hottest most humid mid week evening possible.
    Congrats Megan! Both for graduating from High School and for going on to University.

  17. Congratulations! (and Happy Thanksgiving!)
    And I’ll save you my mutterings. Partly because I can’t quite get them coherent.

  18. You have every right to be proud! Hearty congratulations. By the way, those photos were just fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Congrats! How wonderful that the girls have had each other all these years. All the best to both of them and to your whole family this Thanksgiving! Blessings Be!
    P.S. Thanks for the cowl pattern! I ordered it – my first time buying an individual pattern. I’m so excited!

  20. In a way, it makes a lot of sense, not just for the reasons you mention. It is, after all, called “commencement” and it seems logical to me that when you commence, you start and not three months later. That’s just me and I’m considered “weird” by my friends and family. So there.

  21. Beautiful, bright, independent young women and they can even knit! What more could a mother ask for!!!!

  22. If I’m right, that means only 1 left in the nest?? Reading your blog, I feel like I’ve watched your girls grow up along with you – be proud of your accomplishment :)

  23. Congrats, girls. You still have one left at home, right? There are days I can’t wait… then I think “What the heck am I thinking?” Enjoy the kids while you can. Then enjoy the grandkids :)

  24. Congratulations to both young ladies. How beautiful they both are.
    What a proud moment of all the families.

  25. Have a vegelicious Thanksgiving with family. Graduation is graduation no matter when. Congratulations to all.
    Eve from Carlisle

  26. Congrats Meg & Maddy. And congrats to you, Steph, for doing such a great job with your daughter. Another one will never be a high-school dropout or pregnant 16-year old.

  27. This may be weird – but Maddy has one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen. I notice smiles, nay am an amateur connoisseur of smiles and she’s got a good one.
    Pass my congrats on to Meg. Thanks again for inviting me to your party..I look forward to teleconferencing in.

  28. seeing your successful teenage girls makes me feel a little more hopeful about parenting my own two girls. they are 3yrs and 5mo now – it is so hard to imagine them as teens but I am sure it will be here before I know it.
    Congrats to Meg, and Happy Thanksgiving this weekend.

  29. May Meg and Maddy continue to string beads together for the rest of their lives. Many congratulations to the graduate.

  30. Since one teeny part of my job is pulling together the insanity that is Commencement for a small college, a ridculously short one week after exams end, I know how difficult trying to do it right away is. I like this fall Commencement idea. I like it a lot. Doubt my boss will go for it though! Sadly. *sigh*

  31. Congrats all around! It’s a wonderful accomplishment whatever time of year, whatever age it is done. Wishing them both continued growth and success.

  32. Congratulations to Meg on her graduation being official now. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, too! It will be American Thanksgiving here, soon enough! Glad you had a good day.

  33. Congratulations to both your girls and all the happy parents! Best wishes for very happy, bright futures.

  34. Don’t you have a lot of kids that don’t bother coming back for commencement? I value education highly – have both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, but don’t know if I would have bothered to attend my high school graduation if it had been held in the fall. By the time I had a month of college under my belt, I had moved beyond the high school friends and experiences – but commencement at the end of the school year was a fitting celebration of the end of 12 LONG years of primary and secondary education.

  35. congratulations!!! It matters not when it is done, rather it is only the achievement that counts!!
    And there is absolutely nothing as wonderful as our daughters childhood friends. They are the best.
    My oldest daughter’s best friend from forever just moved to Australia, and I’m not sure we are forgiving her yet ;-)

  36. Actually I have no idea on the times of year and stuff because when I went to school we started in January and finished in December, which makes sense as you get the hottest 6 weeks of the year off between mid-December and the end of January, and also because New Year’s is in January so it seems quite normal to start school then. The only graduation we had though was when we finished university (and actually graduation was 6 months after finishing). I never really got that as in NZ you don’t need to “pass” high school. You just leave with whatever external qualifications you’ve managed to gain along the way.
    What I wanted to ask though, is why the heck do they call it “commencement” when they’re finishing??
    Anyway, congrats to Meg and Maddy – I hope they maintain their friendship now that they’re living far apart from each other, old friendships are very special.

  37. Just another echo of good thoughts for Meg and Maddie, though it scares me that that will be me come June… Congratulations!

  38. What a humane and sensible way to set a commencement date … I love it … now how would I go about starting a campaign to implement such a practice here in NY?!?
    Your girls look lovely and I trust they had a wonderful day!

  39. I graduated highschool in Toronto and commencement was at the end of the school year not in the fall. Here in NS, if you don’t manage to pass everything etc. you have to wait until the next year to graduate officially. And university everywhere in Canada starts in the beginning of september just like everybody else.

  40. Congratulations to Meg!
    (I realized that I saw her and Paco at a supermarket the other week, and despite her hand-knit socks I didn’t recognize them quickly enough to say “Hi, I donated to your ride to Montreal. Glad you tried that challenge!”)

  41. When a child leaves school, it’s a bittersweet moment for most people! Congratulations to parents and girls, both.
    Please tell me, though, why it’s called “Commencement”? – when it’s really an ENDING?
    There is obviously a reason,and I am interested.

  42. Congratulations to the girls! They look lovely. And kudos to you and Joe for raising such beautiful, talented young women.

  43. Congraulations Mom! and of course to Meg and Maddy too. My son’s graduation was in the fall, ended up being on my birthday (end of October) and it was such a wonderful birthday present, I’ll never forget it!
    As was said above Meg & Maddy, live long and prosper!

  44. Mittens ..
    Wonderful! But remember what your daughter said… about knitters having mismatched accessories. Now you need to knit a matching hat and scarf ;)

  45. Congrats! Empty nest is just around the corner. I know a lot of parents can’t wait for their children to grow up and move out but it broke my heart. I wanted them to have their own lives and families but it was so hard to give them up. We have to give our kids two things 1. Roots, 2. Wings. 2. is much harder!

  46. Congrats to Meg!
    Even though I’ve been through the fall commencement thing, it still seemed odd to me, but I did appreciate it–it was always great to see friends come back. We always had ours the first Friday in November, and for the band, it was almost like a practice run before the Christmas concert season (although we didn’t play the Christmas music at commencement).

  47. Interesting! I didn’t realize about the fall commencement tradition (and I live 10 miles from Canada, just south of BC…) This sounds very humane. I teach in a high school and there is this huge push/rush/pressure that final week for seniors who are on the bubble with grades, behavior, or credits.

  48. From Wikipedia: “The “commencement” is a ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred upon graduating students. A commencement speech is typically given by a notable figure in the community, during the commencement exercise. The person giving such a speech is known as a commencement speaker. Very commonly, colleges or universities will invite politicians, important citizens, or other noted speakers to come and address the graduating class.
    The word is something of a false friend, since its derivation from French “commencer” (to begin) and/or “commencement” (beginning) would suggest the start rather than the end of the academic year. From a different perspective, it marks the “beginning” of the graduates’ professional career.”
    I taught at a high school in Ontario that had commencement/graduation at the end of the school year and it was HELL getting exams marked and final marks submitted in time for anecdotal reports to be printed and meeting all the office deadlines for highest marks, scholarship candidates, etc. Having the ceremony in the fall is much better, IMHO, as the graduates get one last time to be together now that they’ve begun the next stage of their lives – be it college, university or the world of work.

  49. Congrats!
    What a wonderful system you have up there. I think the idea of a fall commencement makes a lot of sense from the students and teachers point of view and is a wonderful opportunity to connect with friends that have left the area for college or work.

  50. I am still best friends with someone that I have known since I was four! Those are the best friendships. Congratulations Meg and Maddy!

  51. Not all Canadian high schools have commencement in the fall. I graduated in June, and I lived in a city just an hour away from Toronto. June ceremony are the norm there.
    Congratulations to Meg and Maddy. I hope they are enjoying their first year of university.

  52. 2 down – 1 to go. You have every right to be very proud of your girls. From everything we’ve read on the blog they are turning out to be great examples to everyone around them and that says alot about how they were raised.
    I too want to thank you for “Pretty Thing”. I can’t wait to get started – just as soon as I finish a couple of pairs of socks or maybe sooner.

  53. Congrads!!Happy for Meg and her best bud graduating from school, one step in many to come, curious have the girls decided what their majors are going to be?Enjoy the feeling of having one in the house, A little more room to spread out,is Meg staying at home and going to school?

  54. Congratulations to both you and Meg. And Happy Thanksgiving. I love learning more about Canada and your personal traditions.

  55. Way back in 1961 when I graduated from grade 13(talk about dinosaurs), our commencement was in the fall. I thought the practice had gone the way of the dinosaurs as all the high schools in Sudbury have their ceremonies in June. Congratulations anyway, no matter the time of year. Enjoy the celebration and Thanksgiving too. Cheers, Hazel.

  56. Congratulations to Meg, Maddy and the rest of their class. Interesting time of the year for commencement, but it works for many good reasons. I do, however, think that Canadian Thanksgiving is a much better time of year to have Thanksgiving. It’s just too close to Christmas here in the US!

  57. Congratulations, and may they both have a lovely life ahead full of love and laughter and good friends (and lots of knitted socks).

  58. My best friend and I have known each other since we were 5. I just turned 38. 33 years and six hundred kms have not changed anything. We were trying to explain this to his 5 year old on my 38th birthday and the poor boy was very confused!

  59. HI,
    I just read your “The Way Knit Was” for October 8th. I found some information about the bad luck of knitting in the wings from this site: Second Wind Publishing Blog
    And it says: “Knitting in the wings or on stage
    This is not allowed as it is regarded as bad luck, this goes back to the possible danger of the sharp end of the needles ending up in the wrong place, but even more so to the ancient use of knots in magic.”
    Thanks for writing a great blog and for the fun calendar.

  60. Off topic:
    I know how you can win the furnace war. Give your brother a parakeet. They have to have to room at 70F or warmer. We already had to turn our heater on. (It is in the 50′s outside here in TX and was near 90F only a few days ago.)

  61. I am so annoyed with myself! I found the prettiest cabled cowl pattern – done in white with 3 great big buttons – in somebody’s blog; they also had it in green and red, I think. There was a pattern, which I thought I saved but it appears I didn’t, and now I can’t remember where I was when I found it!
    If that rings a bell with you, could you let me know?

  62. Congratulations & Happy Thanksgiving; it seems you have so much to be grateful for. I’m very curious as to how you’re feeling about being so close to the ‘empty nest syndrome.’

  63. Oh, another of those mom moments that chokes me up. My last will graduate next June, and I will be a mess. What a gorgeous couple of smiles on those sweet faces.

  64. congrats to all — meg, maddy, stephanie and joe (and maddy’s family, too)! a dear daughter and a near-daughter well launched. chances are that you’re not done using the maddybed — school holidays will bring both girls to you from time to time, i’d bet.
    amazing how often we tend to assume that there’s only one way to do something — one “proper” time for commencement (which i’ve always believed was called that because it’s when one begins the next step in life — full-time work or college).
    u.s. kids have nothing equivalent to the exams kids in schools based on the british system do. in my state, the exam one must pass to graduate is given halfway through sophomore year, and is written at that grade level. there are several chances to pass. so a high school diploma basically confirms that one has attained grade 10, second-semester skills. and we STILL have a horrendous dropout rate.
    a fall commencement probably wouldn’t work out so well for most high schools in indiana, cuz h.s. grads tend to scatter to the four winds — colleges/unis from coast to coast, or to the military. unless your parents are rich enough to pay sticker price for college and willing to do so, there’s no such thing as a gap year. college aid officials expect any money you earn during a gap to be used to pay for tuition, room, board and texts. if you’ve received scholarships, they probably won’t be “held” for a gap year. the expectation is nose to grindstone from preschool through grad school.
    i like the idea of two commencements a year — one at the end of each semester. that would let kids who finished in the summer have a ceremony along with those who finished in the fall, while letting them go on to college, but would require more “pomp and circumstance” than the school (or the band) would prefer.
    like chicago, indiana had grades divided into “a” and “b” — but discontinued before the boomers. i’m a war baby — vintage ’44 — and the system was gone before i hit kindergarten. one year of middle school, we were “double-shifted” for a semester until a second school was completed. sunnyside students attended from about 7:30 a.m. to noon; tecumseh students attended from 12:30 to 5. i found school boring and was delighted to have it over at lunchtime.
    now, kids here have to be 5 by july 1 to attend kindergarten (which isn’t mandatory anyway, and which still often is only half days). occasionally, kids considered gifted can get a waiver if their birthdays fall on or before sept. 1. so the system “redshirts” kids like dd (11/5) and grandgirl (12/26), forcing working parents to pay for more preschool.

  65. Congratulations to Meg and Maddy and also to you and Joe, since these grand successes don’t usually happen in a vacuum. Happy Thanksgiving!

  66. Congrats to the girls. What a treasure to have a frindship that has lasted so long and so well. This is our first fall in Canada and we are getting use to many new and exciting customs. The graduation in the fall is another new one for us. Happy Thanksgiving day to you and yours! It is fun to celebrate this holiday at what is not the usual time for us.
    Over breakfast today, I was explaining Rhinbeck to my DH and mentioned that I though the “Yarn Harlot” had attended. He began coming up with synonyms for your Moniker. Though I’d share, though you may have heard them before! Just a bit of fun.
    “Hank Hussy”, “Fiber Floozy” or “Fleecy Floozy” & “Wool Wench” came to mind…I particularly liked the last one! We couldn’t think of anything for “Tart” or “Vixen”…any ideas?
    Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

  67. Congratulations to Meg and Maddy!
    I’m a fall-commencement grad who thinks it’s wrong because I had one. A lot of people in my first-year class ended up missing a day of classes to go to commencement, and even more didn’t bother going – at UW most people don’t go home for thanksgiving if they live more than 4 or 5 hours away by car. (i.e if they’d have to spend more than 8 hours getting there). I may, however, be slightly bitter about commencement because mine happened the night after the engineering awards banquet. Two nights of sitting through a list of names in a row is torture. I also got stuck in traffic for 2 hours (Waterloo to Toronto…), and barely made it to the high school on time.

  68. Congrads! I learned something new today. It sure is different.I think It would be much more confortable for everyone to have graduation in the Fall. I like that idea! We should adopt that way in the States.

  69. Even though I’m unemployed for 6 months now I still have a lot to be thankful for — I hope it lasts until our thanksgiving here in the states. Who knows, by that time maybe we’ll have an actual Health Care policy for the people instead of the insurance companies.

  70. Congratulations! Wonderful concept for commencement.
    They look like wonderful girls. Enjoy this time with them.

  71. I’m actually responding to today’s calendar page (October 15th), not yesterday’s blog. I am a “woman of a certain age” (which sounds much sexier in French) and remember the Argyle socks, which I knit for each boyfriend, but never really had a relationship that lasted long enough to present the socks to said boyfriend. When my mother moved house, she discovered dozens of socks with one sock knit and the second half done. Socks, I’ve always thought, were the curse of true love.

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