Saturday, June 7, 2008

Graduation: II!

At long last, we had our day! Yesterday was Maddie's graduation ceremony. In spite of the fact that it was held in the cavernous Erwin Center, which meant that the best view we had of Madelaine as she got her diploma came on the big screen above the stage. Fortunately, they have a photographer on hand to record the moment, so whatever blurry images I managed to capture will not be the only record of the event.

But pictures weren't the object of the exercise. I have come to understand the value of a public ceremony as a way of marking a significant event, but never in such a practical way as I felt yesterday.

Just being in the auditorium with all the other proud parents and family members gave me an unexpected sense of pride. Unexpected because we put so much effort into the final six weeks that I had not yet allowed myself to consider what all the work was for.

Now, this may seem short-sighted, but in the end, we knew that if Maddie didn't pass all her classes, it would derail her plans for Culinary School, which begins in about three weeks. Nonetheless, all the worry was likely exaggerated since she didn't just pass, but actually finished the last six weeks with some pretty good grades. Interesting, since grades are no longer a concern, after so many years, it seems comical that we even cared!
Maddie was delighted, to say the least. She said that she felt as though a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders, and I think we all understand that feeling. For me, I think the sense of accomplishment is critically important because this is a feeling we need to experience in order to build on it. Even if the exercise is a seemingly artificial one, the result has practical value.

Knowing that she can finish something is just part of it; the fact that she has finished it made apparent in her diploma, proof to the world that she has done something difficult.

Maddie, I am very proud of you!

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