Friday, May 25, 2012

I graduated!!!!

So even though most anyone who will read this already knows, I still want to document this important event. I graduated!!! Whoa!! What?! Yeah, I know. I’m still talking to myself about it. Oh, and to Miley. Sometimes late at night when I’m staring into the dark of night wishing I was asleep, I’ll start talking to Miley. One recent conversation went like this: “Miley. Hey, Miley! Are you asleep? I’m not asleep. Do you wish I was asleep? Do you wish I’d quit talking to you in the middle of the night. Hey! Guess what?! I graduated! Yeah. Me. I have a degree. A-for-real bachelor’s degree. Are you listening to me? Miley!!” She didn’t even raise a paw. I guess she’s getting used to me babbling during the night. Not only do I talk about it in the middle of the night, I also have some real panic moments still. It just doesn’t feel right to be hanging out with nothing pressing waiting for my immediate attention. It also doesn’t feel right to lounge around. I wonder if I’ll get beyond that.

Speaking of babbling, how about getting back on track here. Graduation. The day before graduation I took my last final and came home. Rissa was here. I started making a grocery list with the intention of going to the store before Shauntel and the grandbabies arrived. I didn’t want to miss their arrival, so I was hustling to try to get out of the house right away. Rissa started questioning everything I was doing. “Why are you making that meal? I don’t think Shauntel would like that. I don’t think Belle would eat that. How about we rethink this grocery run. Maybe you should wait until she gets here.” I argued with her, telling her I had nothing in the house for them, so I should at least go buy milk and some snacks for the babies. And that became my plan, but then I remembered that Shauntel likes to have some homemade wheat bread to eat, so I said maybe I should just make that right now. Rissa wholeheartedly agreed. Too wholeheartedly. There even seemed to be relief in that wholeheartedness, but right at that moment, I realized that I hadn’t really eaten that day because of my final, etc., so I picked up something and started eating. Danielle came in the room and said someone was at the door.
Me: “That’s nice. Go get it.”
Danielle: “I think it’s for you. You should get it.”
Me: “I have a full mouth. You get it. I’ll be there in a minute.”
Danielle: “No. Mom! You need to get it. It’s for you. I see flowers.”
Good grief! These girls were being difficult to me. So I gulped and went to the door. And there standing in front of me was Kristen’s boyfriend, Bruce, with flowers. Not that I wasn’t happy to see him (I really was, and it was the first time he had ever come for a visit!), but I knew if Bruce was standing before my eyes, Kristen was somewhere near at hand. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful, fun moment. I started screaming and hugging and dancing all at once. Kristen appeared from the bushes, and the screaming and hugging and dancing went on. They had all been planning this moment for two months. All of them had been keeping it a secret from me that they were coming. Well, they sort of kept it a secret. All of them slipped up at one time or another, but I only managed to catch one of the slip-ups.

About a month before graduation I got a phone call from the Dean of the School of Arts and Letters. The nice woman on the other end called to tell me that I was the valedictorian of the English department and that I would be speaking in convocation. I have to admit that I was a little surprised. I have one A-, and I was certain that A- was going to protect me from this honor. I was crazy ticked off when I got that A- in Advanced Oil Painting years ago, but then I came to adore that A- because I was sure it would be the thing that would save me from a speech. Where are all the 4.0s when you need them? About a week before graduation, I was called in for an interview to be the speaker at commencement. Right about now, can I say, “Whoa!! Stop it!!” See here’s how I look at it. I worked really hard my whole educational career, and then they decided to punish me by making me speak in public. And so I went to that interview. And, what can I say? I flubbed it. Okay, maybe not flubbed it, but I was outright honest and told them I’d rather speak in convocation. The valedictorian speaker in commencement was awesome. They definitely made the right choice with him. He was so awesome, I wish that I had a transcript of his speech.

So graduation day finally came. I practiced that speech every day for a week. Did I hear you say nervous wreck? Who? Me? I was calm as a clam. No!! Not true! I’m an English major, not a communications major. We English majors like to play with words on paper, not in the air in public. So I arrived with my little cue cards, and I sat down by my friend, Jessica. She told me I needed to be on the stand. She pointed out where I should be. I left and sat on the stand, and a couple minutes later, Jessica showed up with my cue cards. I would have left my brain behind if it was possible. Thanks, Jessica!

As I started my speech, I looked over to the second row where four beautiful young women and three beautiful little girls sat watching me. And I felt so blessed. How grateful I am for my four daughters who have become my four mothers. They have protected me, advised me, and loved me all along the way.

I got through the speech fine, and the day was finally over. I graduated! It took 34 years from start to finish, but I finally finished. I have a bachelor’s degree in English: Professional and Technical Writing. I keep saying it like I’ve never heard it before, like it’s some kind of surprise or something. I keep telling Danielle: “Did you know I have a bachelor’s degree?” She rolls her eyes. “Yes, Mom. I know.”

  Me with all my girls.

Me with Jessica.


So I had all of my girls together for a few days, and we did some fun things together, but mostly we just did what we do best. We hung out and lounged around and laughed a lot. It was a wonderful time. I am my happiest when I’m surrounded by these lovely people. I guess I should graduate more often. What degree should I go for next?

1 comment:

The Staheli's said...

I feel honored to be mentioned AND pictured on your blog. But I feel much MORE honored to be your friend and have the privilege to know you. I think you are one of the most strong and talented women I know. Thank you for helping me through the last two years. I really don't think I would have been as successful in school if it weren't for your encouragement and amazing example. Thank you! And a HUGE congratulations!!! P.S. That last picture with all your girls is GORGEOUS! ♥