The Graduate

Jan is now a graduate of Deep Run High School. Last night I experienced the first of four graduations I will attend because of my own kiddos or Jan, our exchange student, who has become like one of our own. It has been years since I have been at a graduation. I forgot all of the pomp and circumstance of a graduation. The emotion of graduation is something that stays with me ~ the music, the speeches, the elation of the kids, the little hints of sadness, the laughter, and the tears.
The pomp and circumstance is, well, pomp and circumstance. It is a necessary part of the ceremony marking these young adults’ time being sent into the world to do great things. The speeches given were the perfect send-off from four years of high school. The addresses were well done; the kids even paid attention. One of the speakers said she had six words for the kids to always remember in going through life “Be kind. Give back. And Work hard.” Claire said, “that’s seven words.” ~ and ~. Whether it was six or seven words, tomato ~ tomahto, it’s good solid advice for kids of all ages.
Jan’s graduation was not just a ceremony marking this milestone in high school but also a stark reminder his time here is quickly coming to an end. He is headed home ~ to his family. It is a bittersweet time for all of us as we come to terms with sending Jan home. He is a part of our family now, and he will always be just a skype date away, but it won’t be quite the same. There will be a hole, and we will have to transition to life without Jan. It will not be a transition back to the way life was before Jan. It will be a transition to a new way of life in our house, where our eyes have been opened just a little more to the world around us.
The emotions stirred up by this ceremony lurked just beneath my surface last night, and I knew I would have to deal with whatever emotion came bubbling up. As you all have probably guessed from past blogs, it is sometimes hard for me to keep my emotions in check…my eyes fill up with tears with increasing frequency as our kids grow bigger and bigger and get older and older. The reality they will someday leave home and begin lives of their own comes to rest on my shoulder frequently. The tears come unbidden and often. Last night, I quietly wiped a tear or two away, hoping no one would notice the teardrops that slipped silently past my lashes, blinking furiously to keep them from falling. For the most part, though, I think I did OK keeping my emotions under the radar.
I looked at my own three who sat next to me during the ceremony and realized, again, how quickly time is passing. Zach has three more years until he graduates. It will be here in the blink of an eye.
I will continue to enjoy every single second we have with Jan here. And I will continue to enjoy the time I have with my own kiddos ~ now and always.
For the love of my children…

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