Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our First Graduate

For the past year I have been writing a weekly column for the local newspaper. As long as no one objects (and really, this is my blog so if you object, just don't read it lol) I plan to start sharing each week's column here. I'll probably share some of the older ones as well, seeing as how I'm working on lesson plans for the class I'm teaching this fall at our homeschool co-op, plus my own kids' lesson plans, plus keeping house, keeping my children from killing each other and various other glamorous things. As you might surmise, writing time is limited for me these days. 
Anyway, this is what was published a few weeks ago, the weekend of Abby's graduation. Just thought I'd share - and add a few pictures. 
Our oldest daughter graduated this weekend. Since we homeschool there was no cap, gown, Pomp and Circumstance, or walking across a stage. We didn't sit in a hot gymnasium or on bleachers at a football field – we just got together with our friends and family, ate some hot dogs and hamburgers, and celebrated a pretty amazing young woman. She got a diploma, of course. I debated long and hard about who to say the certificate was issued by. See, our school’s “unofficial” name is The Hoover Academy of Higher Learning and General Shenanigans, but I was afraid the line wasn't long enough to hold all of that. One example I read online was, “Her parents, Bob and Suzy Homeschooler”, but I was afraid that would just really drive home the awkward homeschooler persona. Eventually, I just decided on “Hoover Academy." It looks nice. And not at all like she completed a lot of her school work in her pajamas on the couch.
It’s been 17 and a half years since her birth and I remember it like it was yesterday. After a very uneventful and quick delivery, she was laid into my arms, a quiet — slightly blue — wide-eyed gorgeous papoose with black hair and eyes so dark her pupils couldn't be seen. She didn't cry, just looked around at us like we had seriously offended her by forcing her entry into the world. We were in awe. We fell instantly in love. She was a miraculous blessing, a thing of wonder, a promise, a fulfillment, a tiny piece of joy in a crazy, stupid, busy world. She rarely cried, memorized If You Give a Mouse a Cookie when she was 18 months old, carried her toy tools in her Elmo purse and drove her Barbies around in her Tonka dump truck. She was a good starter kid. She eased us into the crazy world of Parenting.
She is a Pre-K dropout, but completed her final two years of high school in one year. She is quiet and sometimes shy, yet she’s a force to be reckoned with. She is passionate. Few people possess her determination. She never feels the need to small talk, chit chat or just fill the air with unnecessary words, but will talk to you about important, meaningful things as long as you want. She is amazingly artistic and if she wasn’t scared to death we’d beat her until candy comes out, she’d be decorating the world with graffiti any chance she got. I marvel at the things that kid can create. She started her own hair bow business a couple of years ago and is responsible for many a little girl’s accessorizing. She has little tolerance for blatant stupidity, people who aren’t nice to animals and children, boys who don’t respect girls, and any green vegetable. My sister taught her the art of sarcasm, which she has mastered. She is kind, gentle, witty, wise, and has amazing hair.
So look out, world. We have unleashed upon you amongst this year’s graduates, a tiny little tornado named Abby. She has promise. She has talent. She has overcome bullies and haters and is more compassionate for it. She can make a mean grilled cheese. She can count back change. She loves Jesus. She doesn’t like to camp. She thinks ice cream and cheesecake are two of the best things on this earth. She is allergic to pretty much everything in the air around her. She wants to be a foster parent. She is simply wonderful and she’ll rock your socks if you’ll let her. She already rocks ours.

Congratulations, Abby and the rest of the Class of 2014. Here’s my advice: Be kind. Make a difference. Make good choices. (And when you make bad ones don’t beat yourself up too much. Just learn from it.) Go through this life looking for experiences that will make for amazing stories later. Look out for the little guy. Laugh – a lot. Make us proud.

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We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...