There she was – the only daughter of our only son, working the room, accepting congratulations from clusters of family and friends, and going from table to table where cookies and other goodies were being shared.
A playlist of her favorite tunes competed with polite laughter and much talking. Photographs, like the one of a 4-year-old version of herself with a jack-o-lantern, were on display to stimulate memories and conversation.
Along with exchanges of the trivialities of life, questions like “Are you ready?” and “What are your plans now?” were asked and answered as she moved through the crowded venue. Hugs and pats and gifts and cards were offered. Much love was shown.
Such was the scene last weekend. Joyous occasions like this are being enacted throughout the area during the month of May. It’s graduation time!
In a few days, our granddaughter will be graduating from high school and soon moving to a college campus and settling into another stage of her life. It will be a big transition for her.
By accumulating dual credits and following careful scheduling, she’s actually graduating after only 3 years of high school. Her incredible work ethic and disciplined focus have provided the path for this accomplishment. She’s always been creative and clever, too.
I can offer these compliments because I know her quite well. For 17 years now, I’ve known her.
During those early years when she often had a pacifier in her mouth, we used to dance together. Well, it wasn’t much of a dance, really. It was more like me holding her and swaying my shoulders to the music. Back then, she had a fondness for records from the 1950s.
We watched “Barney” and “Curious George” together. We read books like “Go, Dog, Go.”
There were Grandparent Days and other occasions when we were included in her elementary school activities. Of course, there were traditional family gatherings, and in addition to those, we were often in her house, as she was often in ours.
From her devotion to “Harry Potter,” to her entrance into middle school and then high school, we’ve followed her interests. We’ve witnessed her developing personality, followed her new discoveries, read her writings and listened to her discussions as she thought aloud.
I think she’s enjoyed having us in her life. Certainly we’ve enjoyed having her in ours.
But why all these past-tense verbs? Graduation is not simply about what has been. It’s also about what is to be.
Just because she’s moving on and moving out doesn’t mean she’s moving away from us. We’ll always be a part of one another.