A day we were waiting for for 16 years!!! Taylor and I went to pick up her Regalia for graduation at Grace College. I took pictures of her going into the building, just like I did her first day of school. She grinned and put up with me because she knew I was struggling to focus through the tears.
She finally got to the front door and opened it for me. Just inside was a computer screen with the count down of days, hours, minutes and seconds, until graduation. More tears. Archie would have been so proud and excited. He took her first picture at Grace when she signed up for her class as a junior in high school. Her name flashed on the computer screen in admissions. He had that as his phone screen savor I think until she graduated from high school. Now I am taking the picture at the end…. .
Now she’s being handed a Grace Alumni tee, pen, and button. She can purchase announcements and a class ring if she wants and is passed the financial packet (bills) that need to be organized and turned in before she’s allowed to walk for commencement–ok, so that part we could have lived without. Next there are the computers set up to help new grads find jobs, if they have need, then the many, MANY tables of boxes containing the cap and gown packets. I take more pictures, the ladies behind the tables snicker….until I explain that her dad was suppose to be here but…..and then they are quiet. I need to document everything because I know I will not remember half of this day due to the grief. Poor Taylor, but she smiles and poses.
Next to pick up tickets. The did not have nearly enough for everyone’s request. They offer an off site alternative (dining cafeteria) for her family to view via live stream–but breakfast will be available! Hmmm… . They explain the rules of graduation and give her the schedule for rehearsal, along with dress code. Coffee, cookies, and decadent cupcakes are available for her and her party(that would be me) as all of this is being explained.
I am crying during each step of this as I can see Archie’s smile in my mind as we elbow each other. With each station she is one step closer to graduation, but there are only one set of eyes looking on, not the four that beamed with pride when we first began this journey as a family. Bitter sweet was never so descriptive.
She signed her name for the last of the signature requests for graduates and we were on our way, for more pictures, of course. Then to the car where we checked out her cap (picture), opened up her “honors hood” with chevron(picture), and read the directions as to how the heck she wears that thing. Good thing she’s going to be a college graduate. Maybe she can figure out how a hood that looks like a scarf goes on. Cords to be picked up at rehearsal. More and more tears.
Then to the bookstore. Archie had a “Grace Dad” mug he kept in his office. Taylor gave it to him for his birthday and he loved it. But….I’m not a Grace Dad, so Taylor bought me a “Grace Mom” to match. Then we bought a mini pennant of Grace College and a “Grace Dad” sticker. We are going to take it to the cemetery. He will never see it, or hold it, like the coffee cup. I know he would appreciate, though, letting anyone and everyone see his support for his baby girl, since he can’t tell them for himself. He really wasn’t much of a flower guy, but loved pennants, Grace, and Taylor. This seems much more fitting for his new address.
Proverbs 24:14 “Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
No regrets. She worked extremely hard for that honey, and technically Archie and I worked our butts off to get and keep her in the hive. This, however, is not at all the day I imagined 16 years ago.
I could not say, “open my eyes, heavenly Dad, to see what message You might have for me today.” Today….He carried me, one step after another, because I had no strength for myself. The verse I most related to today is:
John 11:35 “Jesus wept.”
and so did I.
Thanks for sharing our day.