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The Graduate

Last night my youngest daughter graduated from high school.

She is incredibly smart so we never worried about her graduation. To hear some families woop it up when their kids received their diploma made me wonder a few times if this was a huge accomplishment. One that may have been in doubt, or that was novel for this family. Educational success is not universal or sought after by all.

Our family puts a high importance on education. Just about all of us in my generation of our family has a master’s degree or are in the process of obtaining one. Attending college was never a question for my girls.

The Next Chapter

For my daughter, the high school years chapter of her life has come to a close. All of us who have graduated from high school know how the years color our perceptions and memories of high school. High school can be challenging on many levels and on many fronts for all of us, even the most well-adjusted and social adept. We all make mistakes that sometimes seem like the worse thing ever at the time. Sometimes our faux pax look worse in the reflection of time.

High school is also a magical, sheltered world, where many harsh realities of life never shine through and blind us to our dreams. It is a time of new beginnings discoveries, accomplishments and success. In high school you don’t have to worry about the rent or interviewing for jobs. You don’t have to worry if the economy may force your company to close or lay you off. You don’t have to worry if the car will start in the morning or if there will be food on the table.

College is still a bit of a shelter from the realities of life. Kids talk about going “Into the real world”, so they understand their academic world is an alternate reality. College is my daughter’s next chapter in life. We are excited for her and are looking forward to her growth as a person and artist over the next few years. Much like high school, college is a time for exploration and personal growth. The human mind and intellect goes through a great deal of development in the late teens and early twenties of life.

For my wife and I,we are onto a new chapter in our lives as well. Our youngest has graduated from high school and in a few short months will be off to college. After twenty years, our schedules will revolve around our activities and what we want to do. I’m sure it will take some time to appreciate our new lives and learn how to make the most of it. We are excited, even as we look back with a tear in our eyes.

Raising children is a challenge in so many ways. Seeing them leave the nest is both a joy and a jolt of sadness. Looking back over the years we will surely recall the wonderful times more so than the difficult times. That is human nature. Seeing only good in the past and knowing it is past can be difficult to think about. But seeing the children off on their journey is the natural course of life. If they never grew and never went out on their own there would be more heart-break and pain. Watching them spread their wings is bitter-sweet. Knowing that the future holds so much for them is pure joy.

All of our love and wishes for success to you baby girl!

Love,

Dad


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3 responses to “The Graduate”

  1. Harold L. Shaw Avatar

    Andy – for many families H.S. is a crowning achievement and only accomplished by hard work and sacrifice. As a former high school special education teacher at an Alternative School, I have quietly cheered LOUDLY for some of my former students when they received their diploma – the looks were priceless. Unfortunately, I am the only one in my immediate family that has a college degree and sometimes had that used against me in family shall we say disagreements. Edge-a-cation is not the priority for some, that it is for us.

    I wish your daughter good luck and much success in college. You will enjoy the empty nest years, but at the same time, the door will open the car will be full of stuff, and the words – can I have my old room for a couple of months may be heard. 😉

  2. Pandora Viltis Avatar

    Congratulations to your daughter. Hopefully you and your wife are excited about an empty nest!

    1. imarunner2012 Avatar

      Thank you. We are excited for the most part.
      My sister and friends have gone through it recently. I think all of them were 90% happy. You miss some things. I hear that cleaning a room and having it stay clean for more than 10 minutes is great! Not having to stay up to mid-night to pick someone up and then drive for an hour will be awesome!
      I will miss having their friends over and seeing them hang out and hear what they talk about. I find that fascinating.
      I’m all ready taking a deeper appreciation for those moments after dinner chatting at the dinner table.

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