A Milestone: Graduation

By Leslie Parks - Wednesday, June 08, 2016

I pick up a photo album, sit down and reminisce page by page.  I see the changes that happen and looking back they are quick, amazing and huge but in the moment slow, funny, sometimes painful, sometimes joyous. Then I find myself in a sea of people walking into a stadium, kids, looking like adults in blue with hats, chatting in groups as everyone else makes their way to the seats.  We look up and down, we climb the steps trying to find seats for 5.  People have coats and tape and programs blocking the seats, finally we find some and sit. We wait, looking around and wondering if this is truly happening and it is. The music plays, the people stand, mostly placing their right hand over their hearts but others just standing. Then come the columns of kids in blue. walking in pairs.  They sit in rows and the speeches commence. I look around at the kids, some hats decorated, some woven with feathers, signifying their culture, some just happy to be there at all. I pick out the one I came to watch and feel a swelling of pride.  He wasn't the star, he wasn't the end, he just is and I'm happy.  We open the program following along with what is happening on the field.  It brings back memories when I was in that sea of blue in another state.  There the girls wore yellow and the boys wore blue, here everyone is in blue. I couldn't begin to remember what was said except we had a main speaker. Here, listening I realize the main speakers are the kids.  It is their ceremony and they are addressing each other and the audience. I look at the shoes and marvel how different they are: tennis shoes, flip flops, wedges, dress shoes, and no shoes.  It has changed. The names are read, the ceremony ends and we stand and cheer making our way to the entry.  We see friends with their kids, we look for ours. Smiles on our faces we hug and then we leave. We leave him to find his friends, to chat, to make plans. It is over just as fast as the last 18 years and we are onto a new stage.  Maybe for him it was a little anticlimactic since he is still finishing up with classes at the community college but his time with the high school is done.

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