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Tonight was one of the big milestones on life’s path – our oldest son graduated high school. Last night was the Senior Awards Ceremony and I am proud to say that TJ was the recipient of two scholarships and a bunch of academic commendations. He and his fellow classmates have a lot of talent and it was apparent at the awards ceremony, where there was much to celebrate over the course of the evening. As eloquently stated by our principal last night, the awards ceremony celebrated the students’ differences, their different achievements — be they in academics, community service, athletics or music. The graduation ceremony tonight celebrated their similarities – each and every one of the students tonight received the same diploma marking the conclusion of their high school careers and marking the same milestone on their life journey. They are a wonderful group of young men and young women that I have had the pleasure of watching grow in the years that I have known them. They have grown into amazing people that will do wonderful things in the years to come. I am very proud of TJ and his friends. They are amazing and I wish all good things to them.
I think that the older they get the boys realize more and more how important they are to each other and how important their friends are to them. Tom and I have often told the boys as they were growing up that one of the best things to come out of our school and college years were the dear, dear friends that have shared many laughs and many tears in the years that followed college with us. Together, we have celebrated marriages, births, graduations and the growth of our children. We have cried together over the loss of family members, and other devastating life events. Good or bad, they were there for it all. Today, two of our very dear friends drove up with one of their daughters, our goddaughter, to be here for TJ’s graduation. It was a wonderful gesture and I know that they know how much it meant to both of us and for that I will be eternally grateful.
As the boys grow into their own lives and their own friendships, I hope that they are fortunate to find such dear, loving friends — friends that I have always liked to refer to as my “2 a.m. friends”. These are those friends that I know without any doubt whatsoever that I can call upon in the middle of the night to ask a favor or talk to or cry with or whatever and they will do it or be there without any question or any hesitation. These are the friends who were there when I miscarried and later when I was put on bedrest with TJ who brought me yummy muffins and smoothies and who believed in my ability to nurse when I wasn’t so sure myself; the friends who did all kinds of amazing things for which I am eternally grateful for me and my family when my dad passed away suddenly; the friends who watched my boys when Tom and I came down with the flu at the same time and couldn’t move a muscle; the friends that would leave breakfast foods on my doorstep when we got here in the middle of the night or had dinner waiting when we arrived from New Jersey; the friends that come and spend the holidays with us and make me feel like we haven’t missed a beat in years; the friends that would drive 6 hours in total to be there for your son’s graduation because they know how much it means to you. These are the friends that I hope that my boys have the good fortune to have in their own lives.
We are so fortunate to have such wonderful friends and such great sons. They have made me so proud that I think my heart will just burst at the seams. Tonight was an amazing ceremony and we are so proud of TJ and his fellow classmates and friends.
“I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” – Anonymous
I love you TJ and am so very, very proud of you today and always. ~ Mom
We all have baggage. It comes as part and parcel of who we are, the sum of our experiences and our relationships. How we choose to carry that baggage is what differentiates us from each other. Some of us are like the pack horses or the pack mules of olden days. The weight of our burden is equally distributed and while the load is still there, it is not as noticeable. If our baggage is carried correctly and the weight properly and equally distributed, the burden isn’t as heavy and we are able to navigate forward, even if the pace at times is slow but steady. There are times when the load may shift, suddenly or temporarily, but we are able to recognize that the burden has shifted, stop and repackage ourselves. While no one travels through this life without baggage, these folks have their baggage well distributed and except for the occasional shifting which they recognize and adjust for, they move forward accepting and adjusting to each shift and each new package that is added to the load.
For others of us, we don’t distribute our baggage equally or properly during our journey. We sometimes load it all on our shoulders or our back or it weighs heavily in our hearts or on our minds. We cannot shake it, we cannot bear it and we cannot ignore, even for the slightest second that it is there. Our journey through this world is painful, uncomfortable and we are forever looking forward and back for a way and a place to unload our baggage. We cannot accept that we have a load to bear and we have to figure out the best way to carry it with the least impact on ourselves and the most grace and ease.
For different people, at different times, the baggage represents different things. It can be a wronged relationship- be it with a partner, a parent, a friend or a child. It can be poor health or a work or school related challenge. It can be the upheaval that comes with change – be that change good or bad, related to a job, a life circumstance or a move.
As the week opens, I realize that my load will shift this week. Everything that I have known for the past 18+ years is about to change. The first of my three boys will be like the little robin on the edge of the nest, ready to take off into the world starting with this week’s graduation. I cannot stop the journey, I cannot protect him from the world that awaits him for as much as I may try, I cannot take the next steps of the journey with him – not at least in the same way that I have journeyed with him for the past 18+ years, first when he was a physical part of me and when he entered this world breathing on his own his first breaths. All I can do is hold my breath and hope and pray that the wings work when he leaves the nest and that the fall is only temporary and he will rise up on the gentle breeze to the new challenges and experiences that he will face in college with grace and integrity and a smile on his face. I will have to sit back and hope that the job that I have done is a good one.
Over the weekend, at the orientation sessions we attended, we were reminded over and over again, that this transition to college will be difficult – more so for some than for others but hardest of all on each and every one of the parents involved in it. The load that we have been carrying as parents, balanced carefully if we have more than one child, will shift. We have to realize that the shift in our load will require adjustment – a breathing rest if you will, while you unload and reload the baggage that you carry to make the load more bearable, more evenly distributed and more easy to bear. When you start the journey again, it will be different, not as before.
My hope for each of you who are also experiencing your own shifting in the coming months from whatever source, I hope that you are afforded rest in a shady spot, where you can unload your baggage, examine each part of it and secure it again with the least discomfort for the journey ahead. That you may then take up your journey, with a new perspective and a steady pace.
My hope for my son and the others who will be making the same journey starting this week, take time to pack your load evenly and realize that the journey, while at times difficult, will be well worth the effort.
When you’re in school, it is referred to as “spring fever” or “senioritis”. The feeling that things are winding down and should be over already. The itchiness that comes along with the sunshine and warm temperatures. The desire for the laziness and freedom of summer and all that comes along with it. It has been a hectic school year for all of us here with lots and lots of things going on — one son completing senior year and his college search, one driving and working through the difficult junior year course load and the youngest busy with music and coming into his own high school career as a sophomore.
Soon, very soon in fact, will be course selections for next year for the younger two who will be a junior and a senior next year. Right around the corner is the prom for all three boys –the first and last time that will happen (with all the preparation that goes along with tuxedo rentals and corsage flowers), the various awards nights at school coming up on the schedule for music, theater, academics and seniors. That will all be followed closely by college orientation, exams and graduation in June.
I am torn between wishing that time would slow to a crawl and preserve those precious moments left before one leaves for college and my anticipation of all those wonderful events coming up in the next few weeks to celebrate lots of good things.
Things are squared away nicely with TJ having made his college choice and knowing that he is happy and looking forward to the start of a whole new chapter in his life. Tim will be spending a good chunk of the summer abroad experiencing places that I have never been to in my life. Tyler will be working and starting his college application process with lots of essay writing mixed into his summer. Adventures will abound this summer.
The coming weeks will be filled with lots of fun, laughter, pride and tears of happiness. Looking forward to every minute of it.
It’s been a while I know. I had this loss of voice thing which was followed immediately on the heels by this horrible coughing thing in the evenings which paraded as a completely blocked up head thing during daylight hours. It’s been fun….not and it’s finally beginning to leave. Finally. So, now that I am not trying to figure out how to declog my head or prevent myself from coughing up parts of my lungs, I can sit down and write. Sorry about that.
There are very special people in everyone’s lives, I know but I wanted to write about two girls who hold a special place and are having a special week this week. Yesterday was my little niece and goddaughter Hailey’s 2nd birthday. She’s a cutie, isn’t she? Just love the shades!
Saturday, my other goddaughter, Andrea who is 18, will be graduating high school. So hard to believe that all those years have flown by so quickly.
She’s standing behind Tom in this picture, next to Tyler. Seems like only yesterday she was as old as Hailey.
What a great week for both of these girls. One is embarking on a whole new chapter of her life and I am very excited and very proud of her as she heads off to college this fall (damn, I am feeling very, very old) and the other has her entire life of possibilities ahead of her as she learns to navigate around and talks up a storm – giving her older sister a run for her money. (again feeling quite old here).
Congratulations Andrea — we love you and we’re very proud of the woman you have become (probably as much as your own parents)
Happy Birthday Hailey — looking forward to seeing the woman you grow up to be.
Love the both of you.
Well I am officially a former president. A has-been. The former president known as Tammy is what I am going to start calling myself. After that other famous person that was a former too. Seriously though, I am done with my bar association obligation. I missed my middle son’s graduation in the process and learned a very valuable lesson, never trust a man with your plants or your camera. I just looked at the pictures of the graduation which I begged, pleaded and made everyone in the house promise to take plenty of pictures of my son for me. Plenty of pictures obviously is not a term of art. These are men I keep forgetting and you have to be literal. I should have said please take 25 pictures for me. Some concrete number. I have 13 pictures three of which are some great pictures of the ground. Geez. And my seedlings are mostly dead, my husband forgot to water them. I mean, I was only gone not even 2 whole days. What is with this man and plants? Every time I go away something dies. Last time it was my pot of newly seeded basil and parsley, this time my tomatoes and tomatillos. ARGHHH. I know that it was not intentional but still….nuts. Good thing he remembers the kids at least they’re still alive, gotta look to the positive right?