BY: Michele Brown
Today is a milestone in your life. It’s your high school graduation and it’s time for you to spread your wings and fly. It wasn’t easy getting here, but you’ve made it and now it is your time to shine.
As parents, when we first bring home our baby, we have visions of how their life will turn out. One of those visions almost certainly includes their high school graduation. In your mind, you see a nice group of family members sitting in the stands waiting to cheer loudly as your child takes their walk across the stage to get their diploma. After the ceremony is over, you envision your child with a bunch of their friends taking pictures, admiring their diplomas, and getting ready to head out to Project Graduation as a group.
But things don’t always turn out as you envision them.
You don’t plan on your child being bullied in school literally from the first day of kindergarten well into 7th grade. The result of this bullying was your child not having that big circle of friends that you imagined would be with them on graduation day.
You certainly don’t expect to have empty seats because all of your child’s grandparents have died before this day arrived. You never imagine in your wildest dreams that another seat will be empty because your child’s father died before they finished middle school. And you’d never believe for a second that yet another empty seat would be there because your child’s favorite uncle, the man who stepped up to be a father figure for her when she lost her dad, would unexpectedly pass away only a couple of months before this big day.
So, my darling daughter, I know life didn’t turn out as we had hoped and planned. You’ve endured more loss than would seem reasonable for a young lady of your tender years. You could have crumbled. You could have given up. You could have used all of this as an excuse to just get by with the bare minimum to qualify for graduation.
Instead, you decided to overcome all the adversity life threw at you. You worked hard in the classroom, you found your niche with a select group of friends you will no doubt have for a lifetime, and you made it to your graduation, not just “getting by”, but graduating with multiple honors.
While others might view your adversity as a negative, you’ve turned it into a positive. You have learned lessons many people don’t learn until they are well into their 20’s or later. You’ve learned that nobody is guaranteed a tomorrow and that every day is precious. You know that every person deserves compassion. And you know that if you apply yourself and work hard, then the sky is the limit to what you can achieve.
So today, after more than 18 years of caring for you and providing you with the best guidance I could, I will proudly watch you walk across that stage with your multiple honor cords draped around your neck. Your cheering section will be much smaller than I had envisioned, but those of us that will fill those seats will be sure to cheer a little louder to make up for those no longer with us.
I’ll always be here to support you and offer guidance when you ask for it. But today, it’s truly your time to enter the world as an adult. Take the lessons you’ve learned and build on those to achieve even greater dreams. Yes, my darling Emily Nicole, it’s time for you to spread your wings and fly, and I couldn’t be any more proud than I already am.
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