Thursday, May 28, 2009
Graduation, permit, more
That question was asked of me more than once during the past two weeks.
It surrounded my daughter Emma’s high school graduation. And truth is, I may be a bit older than most parents with high school grads. I did not get married until I was 28. I will turn 48 on August 25.
But then the question continued surfacing when I also attended the Marshall Academy elementary awards program just two days after graduation.
I wasn’t the only parent in that boat, but Pam and I were probably the only ones with a senior and first grader. I may have been the only parent at the awards ceremony with gray hairs and a bald spot.
Just in case you’re figuring, Erin will be a member of the Class of 2020, and I will be 58 years old.
Pam has joked, saying she will be rolling me into high school graduation that year in my wheelchair. She can say that. She’s four years younger.
And if high school graduation and elementary awards didn’t make me feel old, there was another happening with the middle child.
Andy turned 15 years old on May 19. So his first birthday wish was to go and get his driver’s permit. That doesn’t just make me feel old, it scares me, too. Having one teenager driving is enough. But in just a few months, I will have two. Plus there’s decisions about who will drive which vehicle and how are we going to afford the insurance and the list goes on and on.
Then last week I received an e-mail inviting me to the Hamilton, Ala., High School Alumni Banquet. The first line read – “Can you believe we have been out of high school 30 years?”
The years are flying by.
I realized that even more as I watched Emma go forward and receive her diploma on Monday night, May 18.
The tears had started the day before during the school’s Vespers ceremony at Byhalia United Methodist Church.
At the close of the event, the seniors delivered roses to their mothers and grandmothers. We were all doing OK until then.
Pam’s eyes started watering, and then I looked over at my mom (Emma’s grandmother) and she was crying. That got me started, too.
The Vespers ceremony was wonderful, with songs from Prayznmor of Byhalia United Methodist Church and an inspirational message by Jim Biedenharn, the church’s pastor. There was also a slide presentation highlighting the seniors’ year, with photos provided by MA teacher Linda McKinney and a few by yours truly.
The MA graduation ceremony is one I hope the Class of 2009 will remember forever – particularly the words of two fabulous speakers, state auditor Stacey Pickering and MA teacher Mike Drewery. Both left the seniors with encouraging words – pushing them to dream big dreams and not be afraid to accomplish those dreams.
Valedictory and salutatory addresses by David Breithaupt and Olivia Childers were excellent, as was special music by daughter Emma and fellow senior Hannah Hamblin.
I made it through graduation tearless, until the end, when class members had a special closing honoring Bradley Reece, a classmate who lost his battle with cancer in March of 2008.
There were few dry eyes in the overflow crowd inside the MA gymnasium.
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