My gosh, y’all. I attended graduation this year and I decided on two things in conclusion:
- It was one of the best ceremonies I’ve attended
- I won’t be going to any more graduation ceremonies
Fine, for sure #1 is true. But Connor was really worried I was serious about #2 (i’m such a child for chuckling even typing that), so I let him know that I might go to his. The conditions are that I am not seated near anyone with a camera and that I have professionally done waterproof makeup generously applied.
But for real, though, this ceremony was incredible. There was a warm introduction from one of my very favorite local artists, a beautiful speech by a talented young woman who recognized her mom as ‘wonder woman’, laughter as the other speeches completely delivered (with a nod to Jimmy Fallon’s ‘thank you’ notes. young mr. ryan knows the way to my heart) and tears. Yes, I cried. I know it’s really hard to believe that but it was just too.dang.much. to keep that stuff locked up.
My niece, Lindsey, was one of the graduates this year. I recall taking her senior photos last August and it honestly didn’t feel all that real at the time. I mean, I cried then too, but not as hard. #justification
We had prime seats thanks to dad’s recent knee replacement. I was thankful because it allowed us to have a great view of little miss and the stage. The tears actually did start with the acknowledgment of ‘wonder woman’ mom. I leaned over to Connor and let him know I expect something similar during his graduation speech. And I wish I could have met young Savannah because how many moms would feel as heroic hearing those words?! So precious.
Then, Lindsey walked across the stage and hugged her dad. Brian was able to give Alyssa her diploma as well and it was just one of those moments that made me so proud of my brother-in-law for playing a role on the school board but also for caring so much for his girls. Then, miss Olivia walked across the stage and I super duper lost it because all I could think about was her dad and how he would be so proud of this young woman. And her mom because she’s raised such amazing kids in the midst of complete tragedy. Amy is one ‘wonder woman’ of a mom as well. In fact, there were a number of kids acknowledged as sons or daughters of a ‘late’ parent. It really hit me because I can’t imagine how strong they must be at such a young age. It was impressive, really.
But the last student? Oh man. He was in an accident that left him in a wheelchair and well, that young man was guided to the stage and stood up enabled by a walker and two supporters to navigate the entire path to receiving his diploma. It was an absolutely incredible sight; such a reminder that 1) we’re all fighting such a battle, 2) we have more strength than we know and 3) it actually does take a village.
We gathered outside just following the celebratory close and I just completely lost it when I hugged one of my two favorite nieces. I’m just so proud but also so aware of what the close of this chapter means for her, for my sister and broseph and now for my kiddo … the last one of our bunch at Hopkins. I can’t even.
Congratulations to the class of 2019. Congratulations to my beautiful, incredibly talented and funny-as-all-get-out niece. I love you, Lindsey Mae! I cannot wait to see how the Lord uses your gifts as you spread your wings outside of Hopkins. But I have no doubt you’ll always know how to find your way home. (because we have Comedy Central and ‘The Office.’)