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A month of milestones

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It’s been quite a month.

We’ve hit a bunch of family milestones.

It’s been fun. It’s been exhausting. It’s been one of those kinds of busy stretches where I had to come back to work to relax.

From the second weekend in May until now, we’ve had several trips out of town to celebrate graduations, with a family vacation mixed in there. Full disclosure: I can’t claim exhaustion from the family vacation. It was women only, but I did donate to the cause. I generally only last a day or two on vacation. It was best for everyone that when my wife and three daughters celebrated in Boston, it was without me. After all, someone has to watch the dogs and tend to the home front.

We started our month of adventure the second weekend in May, with our youngest daughter graduating from UWMadison. It was a wonderful ceremony but a hot, hot day. We spent hours on the bleachers of Camp Randall Stadium in 90degree heat. I didn’t complain once. After two years of COVID, I’d take being fried like an ant under a glass with 40,000 of my new closest friends over two years of isolation. The sunburn I earned that day is still peeling.

The next weekend, we had three days in Milwaukee and Madison with a daughter graduating from Marquette University with her law degree. Sandwiched in between the ceremony in Milwaukee and her swearing in to the Wisconsin Bar at the State Capitol Monday was a trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo. I don’t think I’ve been to the zoo in decades. My most notable zoo visit was during college orientation in Milwaukee. Times were different back then. Every event started with a tailgate party. The zoo trip was no exception. My roommate and I were asked very nicely to leave. We didn’t feed anything that wasn’t supposed to be fed, but we were accused of “borrowing” the “I bite” signs from the children’s petting zoo. I was on my best behavior this time, in case there was a picture hanging somewhere banning me from the premises.

The state bar ceremony was impressive. I was finally silenced for using my line of spending a lot of time in Wisconsin bars too. And I was never even sworn in, though I expect there were times I was sworn at! We had a lot of time celebrating as a family, which was muchneeded when our gang is scattered around the state. This year, Christmas was spread over two weekends, so it’s tough to get everyone in one place on one day, much less two weekends in a row.

Mixed in the middle of all the excitement was our 30th wedding anniversary. My bride took a raincheck on that one. Hotel rooms on graduation weekends don’t come cheap, and we already got the best gift we could get. We decided we wouldn’t have wanted to mark the milestone any other way than with our family.

Who needs jewelry when you have kids?

BY JOHN McLOONE

June 8, 2022