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Courtney's Graduation


Years ago Greg and I used to drive three hours north to Lake George, NY often.  We were enchanted by the early morning mist rising off the lake and the kitschy little shops and the fresh mountain air.  One summer we watched my niece so that my sister and brother in law could open their hotel and cottages.  Those were the days before children and leaving for the weekend took five minutes to throw some clothes in a bag and lock the door behind us.
Once Grace joined our lives, we still managed to make up to the lake but once she hit her “I hate my carseat” phase our trips became less and less frequent.   

This weekend we had the pleasure of watching our niece graduate high school.  I have never been much of a fan of graduations.  I do not remember much about my high school graduation.  I remember being very bored at my college graduation and I skipped my grad school graduation.  I have sat for hours listening to administrators bloviate about their school’s accomplishments and their role in the achievements of the students.  I have listened to valedictorians and honored speakers claim to reflect on the rite of passage they are experiencing and claim to have the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to tackle the world and it’s problems.  And I smile.  I smile with the wisdom that can only come from age and experience and realization that at eighteen, nineteen, twenty and twenty one we just don’t have a clue about the world and its problems.  And the administrators? Well, they are living large off student tuition and student accomplishments.

So I entered this graduation ceremony expecting more of the same and instead had a moment that moved me to tears.  Not just the misty eye tear, but the roll down you face, find me some tissues fast tears.  I hope my niece and her friends realize how fortunate they are to have had the graduation they did because it was rare.  It was special.  It was meaningful.

 The Principal got down from the podium and walked among the kids seated before him, microphone in hand.  He reflected on the senior class tradition of choosing a song to represent their class.  Over the years some great songs have been chosen such as John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change, Where Are You Going by Dave Matthews, On My Way by Phil Collins, Forever Young by Rod Stewart, Time of Your Life by Green Day, Learning to Fly by Tom Petty, Stuck in a Moment by U2, I hope you Dance by Lee Ann Womack, and my favorite: Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root.  While a vignette of the song played in the background, he sent these kids on their way with words of wisdom, with advice, with instructions and with his love.  Yes, his love.  This man loved these kids.  It was apparent and I think that is what made me tear up. I could feel the love in the auditorium and although he was speaking to these 60 boys and girls, he was also speaking to my two girls who were sitting in the bleachers listening to his every word.  
Courtney’s class chose In The Middle by Jimmy Eat World and it was a fitting choice. 
Hey, don't write yourself off yet
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away.

It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).

Hey, you know they're all the same.
You know you're doing better on your own, so don't buy in.
Live right now.
Yeah, just be yourself.
It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else.

It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).
It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).

Hey, don't write yourself off yet.
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just do your best, do everything you can.
And don't you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say.

It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).
It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride.
Everything (everything) will be just fine, everything (everything) will be alright (alright).


The choir performed this song and immediately upon its end, they moved their tassels and tossed their caps into the air and their high school experience came to a beautiful close.  I am going to enjoy watching what the future has in store for my niece.  She may be in the middle, the middle place between educational institutions, the middle place between childhood and adulthood but she is not standing in the void alone.  She stands with friends and family.  She stands with those of us who watched her grow and held her hand along the way, of those who supported her, encouraged her, guided her, loved her, and admired her.  For this girl, everything will be alright. Alright.

Comments

  1. Beautifully written Jess. Her school sounds like a rare, lovely place. The Principal too!

    ReplyDelete

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