It’s that time of year when parents of high school seniors prepare for, and witness their child’s graduation. My oldest daughter’s graduation ceremony was Sunday, May 19th and there are about 30 kids in her class so I figured it would be pretty quick. Well, there were a lot of scholarships and awards handed out (which is great!), so it took longer than I expected.

One of the funniest things that happened was during the Valedictorian’s speech. The winner is a friend of my daughters, and while I am paraphrasing, it went a little something like this:

…I want to thank my friend Jazlyn who said she would pay me $10 if I said her name during my speech…

Yes, that apparently had been said, and yes Jazlyn did pay. Interestingly enough, Jazlyn isn’t even the class clown (but it doesn’t shock me knowing some of her classmates). It was a good speech and made it feel less formal and contrived. I don’t remember the Valedictorian’s speech from my graduation because I just wanted to get out, but there are always images of a snooze-fest, stuffy type of speech. I think this due to the valedictorian trying to impress the faculty. This was not entirely such. While it was a good overall speech and she did thank the faculty, there was also levity to make it feel organic, heartfelt and class-centric.

The ceremony only lasted about an hour and a half, then it was on to the parties. We only had one to go to on this day, but had more in the coming days. We had been (almost) ready for Jazlyn’s, and when my wife and mother-in-law get together to decorate, things turn out great!

The next chapter in so many of these young adults’ lives is about to begin. It is somewhat surreal to think that they will be going to college, or trade schools, or the workforce and finding their own way. And it’s humbling to know that as parents, we had a hand in shaping their past, current, and future states.

As I’ve watched my daughter grow and mature into the beautiful young independent woman she has become, I can only wonder and watch as she does more amazing things. Sitting in the ceremony made me feel very proud of her, and I continue to visualize the successes she will bring to her life.

Congratulations to all 2019 graduates!