Tag Archives: Graduation

Monday Musings on a Wednesday: Onward and upward

20 Jun

She’s off and running

Well, we made it. We made it to and through our first child’s high school graduation week. It’s taken me a while to be able to sit and think about what I wanted to write, as I definitely wanted to mark this life event (for all of us) in writing.

It’s the craziest roller coaster of emotions–happy, proud, sad, thrilled. When our kids were babies, I was constantly feeling this need for life to slow down. They grew fast, they conquered milestones one after another. They rolled over, crawled, walked, ran, rode bikes, drove a car.

I kept wishing that the merry-go-round would slow down a little bit so we could stop, bottle up what we were seeing and doing, and then restart, but we couldn’t. It just kept going.

And going.

And here we are.

High school was hard. Lots of things were hard, but hard prepares you for real life. Life is hard. Throughout these past four years and the years leading up to it, we often said, “In the end you’ll be better off for having worked hard. Do you best, try hard, and most of all, be a good person, because that is what matters most in the end.”

In the end.

That’s the weird thing. As we drove to pick up the graduation cake and flowers on the morning of graduation, my husband said, “It’s weird, for us this feels like the end, but for her, this is just the beginning.”

If that didn’t make me cry, nothing would. (Or so I thought.)

But it’s true, what he said. We were finally finishing high school. There were days of high school that not only did I think we’d never get through the year, I questioned how we’d get through high school three times, but we did. This was the end. She had finished, made it, seen the success and reward of all her hard work and stress, and yes, she’d come out better for the grit and perseverance.

I have reflected in these recent months that you work so hard to get to a point that you see as a major goal or milestone. A benchmark: their first birthday, their 10th, 13th, 16th, 18th birthdays, and you think to yourself, “Whew…we did it. We made it. We survived.” And you think you get a break. We’re done. It’s done. She made it.

But, you don’t. That merry-go-round doesn’t actually stop. You don’t get off and take a break, a rest, a breather. You wake up the very next day and keep moving forward. I think I equated it to a wedding, all the anticipation and the build-up and then you’re done. It’s over. But you’re not, and I think that’s a good thing because there’s so much yet to come.

On graduation day I found myself to be more happy than sad. Proud, thrilled. On the next day afterwards, I found myself to have a bit of a delayed reaction, crying unexpectedly during a song at my youngest’s dance recital (In My Daughter’s Eyes) that I hadn’t expected to hear that day, or to be crying through in the audience as I saw my oldest at three in my mind’s eye, dancing on the stage for the first time and graduating high school in what seemed like the next instant. (In my defense, the mom next to me was teary too, and her daughter hadn’t graduated the day before.) I find that weird things get me emotional, and yet my biggest emotion is happiness and the events where I thought I’d be sad, I’ve been the most happy.

I am so happy for our daughter and what she achieved when she thought she couldn’t, what goals she set and then met, and most of all, what a good person she’s turned out to be at 18. As we read through her yearbook and read through various poster boards from culminating events for various year-end activities, over and over the most common theme was thankfulness for her goodness, her leadership, her help, her time, her kindness.

In the end, that will get her furthest.

There is a graduation speaker I hear at our city graduations each year, and he uses the same line, year after year no matter what else he writes in his speech, and I was so glad to hear him say it again this year. Each year, he tells the students that it is their talents, their grades, their GPA that has gotten them through high school and to graduation day, but that it is their character, their values and their morals that will get them through life, and I truly believe he’s right.

The merry-go-round does not stop now.

As we embark on this summer in between the end of high school and the beginning of the rest of her life, I am reminded of many things, as I have been all year long, and for the past 18 years. My own high school graduation quote in my yearbook was from a song from the campfires at summer camp, “The Circle Game.” The song has stayed with me since my days at camp and through my years as a young mother, through to today-and I know through to the days beyond today. It has run through my head day after day and week after week as I imagined this merry-go-round of our lives.

I think that ultimately, it’ll stay with me for the next forever and a day.

It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning.

The Circle Game
Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you’re older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him,
Take your time, it won’t be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
Songwriters: Joni Mitchell
The Circle Game lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

Monday Musings: Change is good.

17 Jun
Time marches on.

Time marches on.

This time of year is a hectic one for those of us who work in schools, and as an education reporter, June is by far one of the most hectic times of all. However, one of the things I enjoy about June in particular, is the fact that I am asked to cover many types of graduations, moving up, moving on and farewell celebrations.

In the past ten days or so, I was blessed to witness a fifth and sixth grade farewell, a preschool graduation, a fifth-grade farewell, a middle school honors night and two high school graduations. At each one I really had no connection to any of the people being honored and yet I had goosebumps at every event, and felt my eyes well up on more than one occasion.

For you see, at each event, as I watch the parents and the students enjoying their special moments,  I am reminded of my own family and of my own life as a parent.

I am reminded that no matter how hard we try, how hard we hope and pray that time will slow down and maybe even stop for a bit, that life marches on and every day, every beginning and every end of the school year, brings forth change of some kind.

And I try to remind myself that change is good, that these are celebrations and happy times.

Each day as I watch my oldest walk out the door to the school bus, I can still see her on the very first day of kindergarten, getting onto that bus in her little sandals, with her backpack on her shoulders. As I sat at the middle school honors night last week, I watched the students who will be leaving middle school for high school and realized that next year that will be her.

Where does the time go?

I think I sang “Six Little Ducks Went out to Play”  the loudest at the preschool graduation last week, as I thought of my baby, going into third grade next year. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were at her preschool graduation? Weren’t we just singing that song for each one of them at their own special preschool ceremonies?

I watched this year’s fifth-graders say farewell to their elementary school last week, it struck me that my middle daughter is going to be there in a blink as she moves onto fifth grade next fall. I am thankful that our school goes up to sixth grade for elementary school because I know I won’t be ready for her to say goodbye to elementary school just yet when next June rolls around.

I need more time.

But it is the high school graduations each, that hit me like a ton of bricks every year. We are moving so quickly towards that goal and I sit there every year thinking that soon this will be us. That soon these will be our daughters graduating high school and then college.

My dad recently told me that my college graduation was “one of those moments” that is forever burned in his brain. The sight of me walking with all the other grads into the ceremony is one he said he’ll never forget.

I don’t know if I can wrap my head the fact that these types of milestones will soon be our own. I don’t know if I can stand it.

But as I listened to each of the graduation speakers this weekend, both students and dignitaries, the resounding theme to each of them was change.

And how change is inevitable, but that change is good.

And so, as another graduation season comes to a close, all I can do is take their word for it.