Sheryl, one of the secretaries at work, has a daughter that graduated as well. She also has another daughter getting married tomorrow. And Sheryl has been teary eyed and emotional for the last month. I told her it was because Arica is her last daughter to graduate and she is stressed over wedding plans. I only got emotional when Sheryl did. Hey, I have done this 3 times before and was fine.
Friday dawned with nice weather and beautiful. I got up and started getting ready for the day. It was a bit weird to be getting ready while everyone else slept. I went to work where we had a staff-ilty breakfast. Then there were the usual end of year remarks by the principal and the recognition of teachers leaving, summer birthdays, weddings, babies and gifts handed out for all of those occasions. Then the two assistant principals that are leaving made some comments. I was fine until the principal that hired me and has been my supervisor started talking. I really tried not to cry, but I am going to miss him. He is the life blood of the school. He does so much behind the scenes that very few people-even the head principal- know about. He has made sure that at least once a month there is some kind of card/note/gift on our desks as a thank you for working. He even had flowers for us just because and took us out to lunch a couple of times. He greeted me each and every day for the last 9 months with a smile and "Good to see you today" And everyday he told me how glad he was that I choose to work with him. I am going to miss him and someday I should do a post about him.
After breakfast we all gathered outside for the annual staff-ilty picture. (staff-ilty is easier to say than staff and faculty so that is what we were always called) Then I went back into the school to check on what was left to get done for the end of year. Then I headed home to get everyone ready for the graduation.
I remembered that I had not ironed Matt's graduation robe so I called him to take it out of the package and get the iron set up for me. He told me that Whitney's mom had steamed it for him the day they picked up the robes. I was torn between emotions at this news. Part of me was grateful that she did that because I was running out of time to get things done, but the other part of me was sad that I did not get to do this small service for my son. I teach my children to iron as soon as they are about 8, sew on buttons when they are 6 or so, do their own laundry as soon as they can reach the washer... so I haven't ironed anything for Matt for a very long time and wanted to do this for him. But it was done so I was just grateful that someone did it for him.
When I got home I had to change my shoes. I had worn heels and my feet were starting to hurt so I put on some flats and after putting Matt's cap, gown and cords in the car, took him and Ethan to the high school to ride with the band to the Marriot Center for graduation. Then it was back home to collect everyone else.
Brandi got home from school and changed her clothes, Jake was finishing getting dressed and Jess was ready. Their dad came from work and we all drove in together. May I just say this about every road in between here and there--Construction. The graduates were supposed to be in their caps and gowns at a certain time and I was not there with Matt's. He started calling to ask how close we were about 15 minutes before then. I kept telling him I would be there in time. And I was.
After handing Matt his attire and helping him get his cords on the gown, we headed down to the floor. Because I work at the school and had a student graduating we got floor seats. Along the way I passed some of the students that I have grown close to this past year and I was able to give them a hug without worrying about ethic and legal issues.
Then the processional of students started. And it hit me. And I started crying. Jess looked at Kristina and said, "Oh great, my mom is already crying!" But I could not help it. These students are all my kids. There were the students that brought a smile to my face every day, and those that brought a frown. The students that at the start of the year were so far behind in credits that I did not believe they would ever graduate- yet the knuckled down and did it. The student that is the first of his siblings to graduate- his 5 older brothers didn't, his dad didn't, his grandfather didn't- but he did. The student that was late everyday because his mother was always drunk or strung out and he made sure his younger siblings got to school. The students I taught when they were in my nursery class in primary and then later 11 year olds when I was in the primary presidency. The students I have watched grow the last 5 years in marching band. The students that have hung out at my house weekend after weekend. And the ones that hung out in the office wanting help and advice.
And Whitney who has been such a part of our lives.
And Matthew. I call him my perfect child even though we all know he has his faults. My first to have perfect attendance every single year since 4th grade. Straight A's since kindergarten. Graduating with honors. Polite, kind, compassionate, a gentleman. My friend. My child that is most like me, the one I understand the most. The one that "gets" me more than any of the others.
The speeches were great- and short. Then the principal stood to give his remarks and turned some time over to our assitant principal (the one that is leaving) to give us some Words of Wisdom, one last time. Just as he has for the past innumerable Mondays and Fridays. And we all repeated his final line with him, just as he gave it each and every week for the past 6-8 years:
"Keep and follow all the rules, make it a great day or not, Don't stop believing and we'll see you at the top. Be there!"
When the day was over and we left the Marriot Center, I felt as if I had just participated in a spiritual experience. I had that reverent feeling you have after leaving a temple session. I have no idea why, other than I just watched so many students that I know and love move to the next phase of their lives.
Matt on his way back to his seat after receiving his diploma
The rest of the pictures are turned sideways and I have no idea why. They are not that way in my picture folder and I can't figure out how to turn them. And Jess has not processed the pictures she took. I'll post them when she does. Until then sorry you'll have to look sideways. Oh, and my camera batteries gave out.