In the weeks before my high school graduation, it hadn’t occurred to me that commencement meant beginning. It felt like another word for ending, notwithstanding the planned celebrations. Truth be told, I wasn’t ready to start something new.
I wanted to savor the sweetness of my friends. And continue walking into the building greeted by the stenciled words “The Best People on Earth Walk These Halls.” At the same time, I knew we’d already signed papers of separation disguised as college housing agreements, military enlistments, and training programs.
We’d begun with unsteady steps in Mrs. Morgan’s kindergarten class. We added new pals along the grades, lost teeth and got braces. We survived puberty, received honors, and questioned our parents. We fell in and out of love, played to win, and learned to manage time. We suffered for releasing chickens imprisoned in shopping bags from atop the bleachers at a basketball game and driving too fast and too late at night.
On that last day of high school, we walked arm in arm, laughing as ribbons of tears streaked our cheeks, down that long hall relishing all that had been fun and good. Certainly more confident, capable and kind than our freshmen counterparts. The pain of disappointments and the trials of troubles transformed into wisdom and grace and steel.
Looking back at my 17-year-old self with my gaggle of friends, I see a brave blur, flinging open the doors and leaping into the unknown. Yes, we’d march to Pomp and Circumstancethe next day and move our tassels from right to left, but this was our launching.
Thank you for all you do raising your unique children,