Monday, May 30, 2011

The Ending and the Beginning...Grace, Graduation and The Village

"The fireworks begin today.  Each diploma is a lighted match, each one of you is the fuse." -- Ed Koch

It is always so weird when something you have imagined actually comes true.  As usual, it was way better than the imagining, way more emotional, way more fulfilling and way more fun.

Yesterday, Jack graduated from high school.  I truly don't know how that happened since my own memory of graduating from high school is so vivid: holding my dear friend's hand and saying,"I'm not ready to graduate.  What can I do?  How can I stop the train?"  No luck.  The train had already left the station and we were on it.

He walked across the stage and they said his name.  We cheered wildly and with abandon.  We cried at the valedictorian's address and his sincere thanks to his parents, specifically his dad who could not be there.  We sadly remembered the parents who did not get to see this day and hugged and cried in relief with the parents who feared their child might not make it to this day.  We watched Jack move through the throng of red robes, smiling and posing like a celebrity.  We flashed back to our Christmas baby, our curious toddler, our artistic preschooler, our angel in the Christmas pageant, our soccer, basketball, baseball, karate and finally our volleyball playing kid, our Calvin and Hobbes fan, our tentative driver, our passionate homeless advocate and Rosebud Indian Reservation worker and our Relay for Life team captain.   Here he was: Jack on the brink of something new saying goodbye to something he loved: high school.
Proud grandparents, expert seat savers and the foundation for The Village :)

At his side were his siblings, his parents, his grandparents and his uncle cheering him on, savoring the moment.  Waiting at home were even more family members, cousins, godparents, dear friends (more like family than friends) and even that old faithful high school friend of mine.  Waiting to celebrate, cheer and congratulate...waiting to share college stories, waiting to ask questions, give gifts and high five.  They are The Village.  The ones who are there in the darkest hours.  The ones who bring coffee, dinners, friendship and hope in the trying times.  The ones who phone you and text you.  The ones who really care about your kid..who celebrate the victories and cry and worry or sigh along with you when it isn't working according to plan.  They are the net and when we fall, they catch us.

The cutest Trojan fans!
And how do you say thank you to The Village? How do you watch the love and the support and the encouragement and not wish that every single child were wrapped in this cloak of love and acceptance?  How do you not cry over the abundant gifts that have been given to your son by The Village? Let me tell you clearly: the surest way to my heart is through my child's.  Watching my friends and family support and love him on this day was almost too much.  I am grateful beyond measure for the privilege of being a mom.  The whipped cream frosting is that I get to share the journey with this group who shares my days, my genes or some great stories.  They make it a celebration and a marker in our family's history.  Today we have a new story: remember when Jack graduated and it stayed sunny until we got home and then it poured buckets?  Remember running for the food in the rain? Remember the cousins playing dress up and soccer and falling into the family comfort zone that just flows after a few hours of being together?

To The Village: Thank You!  Thank you with all of my heart for your love, support, kindness and celebration this week-end.  You are the cherry on a really beautiful cake, full of whipped cream frosting and a whole lot of love baked eighteen years ago in a hospital room at Christmas time.  I love you.


  1. Congratulations to your entire family, Beth. Very well said. I know everyone says it goes by fast, but I am sure not ready for this big day! Love,

  2. Love being a part of The Village:) I remember how excited we all were when Jack was born. Remember rushing off to the hospital? We were all on pins and needles. So hard to believe how quickly he has grown into a "young person" ;) So fun to share his wonderful life and watch him grow and succeed- awesome!