I wasn't surrounded by all the people I love and have loved. I was though, surrounded by people that love me. And that was the most wonderful feeling and exactly what I needed. How much I wish my mom could have shared my day, in person. Even though she is gone...I already know how she would have reacted and what her response would have been. I know she would have taken the day off work, but not until she made sure every.single.person. in her office knew exactly WHY. haha. She loved to brag about her kids--even her grown ones. I know she would have told me how proud she was and she might have even cried.
She would have been irritated in the morning rush to arrive early to get a good seat. Once she arrived and took a deep breathe she may have even realized there was no reason to be so uptight about it, but I don't think she would have admitted that aloud.
A few of my lovely classmates.
Waiting in line to head on into the graduation area. I was so excited I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry or simply never stop smiling.
HERE WE GO!!
There were guests tossing paper confetti at us as we began the processional into the quad/graduation area. One wad of confetti landed right in my face! And in my friends faces. haha. The ground looked as if it were covered in paper snow. It created quite the uneven walking surface. Do you like my shoes? I'm pretty sure they are vintage--super cute anyway, right?
The place was packed. I forgot to decorate my own cap like I planned--I was too busy working on my graduation dress. The weather was great, nice and cool. That was much better than having to sit for two hours in the heat while dressed in black. The speeches by the big-wigs were short, that was nice. What I remember most was the president (not Obama!) emphasizing how valuable this education/degree was in our lives. How we would go forward and represent the school as educated individuals, making an impact on our communities and in the lives of others--& how we had a responsibility to do that. It was actually inspiring. I'm not sure if any other graduates were listening and paying attention but I was.
I noticed a graduate sitting in front of me who's cap and gown looked slightly different. Her cap was a little faded, barely noticeable, and sort of water (or sweat) stained all along the top. Her gown didn't have the pleats and gold colored cord trim on it. I imagined that anyone could have shown up in a cap & gown and participated in the ceremony...that might be a fun thing to do--just show up next year in a black cap & gown (I already have the cap) and fill out the announcement card. No one would know the difference.--I wondered if her parents couldn't afford to rent her the official cap & gown and they had one they handed down for each child to use...and if that bothered her. I don't know...but it's worth considering. Everyone has a story--how many will we actually get to know?
There were two announcers that announced each grad's name with gusto and flair. Don't you know, when they got to me, they actually butchered my FIRST name, of all parts to butcher. The first professor to shake my hand said, "Congratulations Stephanie." STEPHANIE!?! bwahahahahahaha! HOW you get Stephanie from Katy--who knows? He announced my last name perfect.
None of my family or friends knew I had been called so as I crossed the stage there was silence....I was in a state of confusion, not knowing what the announcer had called me, I didn't realize there'd be three professors to shake hands with, I almost ran into a table on stage and I forgot to face the camera guy. Regardless, I couldn't stop myself from smiling extra big--even though I told myself not to because it accentuates my gums and tweaks my smile. It was fabulous and a very memorable moment...that I waited a long time for and worked very hard toward and all under extreme duress this last semester.
My friends and family greeted me outside the ceremony area with flowered leis, graduation balloons and bouquets of flowers. I was so excited and blessed by those who attended. I was especially blessed to be surrounded by my four amazing kids. They aren't all "children" anymore--since my oldest is 19. They are though, my greatest achievements and blessings in this world. They had to sacrifice a lot as well, for me to go to school. As a home-educating family, I have been primarily at home with them every day, for their entire lives. They had to adjust to mom NOT being there, at their disposal, every moment of every day. My life didn't revolve around them to begin with, but I'm sure they felt like it did up to that point. lol Oldest picked up a lot of the slack--keeping the two middles on task with their daily assignments while I was out of the house the few daily hours in classes. My first semester (last spring) was his last semester in high school so while I was restarting one educational journey--he was finishing his own.
I figured I'd reapply for the next Fall term. Then a few months later, I received notification the school had unexpected funding to open Spring admission for the first time in years. I was automatically accepted and didn't even need to reapply for financial aid. Everything, literally, fell into place. God's will, and his perfect timing was confirmed, once again.
My emotions threatened to finally get the best of me when I took this picture with my dad and he said, "I am very proud of you, Katy." I couldn't look at him because I knew if I did, I'd lose it. It only takes a few meaningful words to touch that space and longing deep within one's heart.
After the ceremony, we headed home to finish last minute preparations for a luncheon. My friends from church supplied all the food and drinks. What a huge blessing they were to me. All I had to do was show up to my own house, basically. It was such a warm feeling to be surrounded by people that love and care for me enough to have supported me on this crazy journey and then to go above and beyond to help me celebrate! Those are truly, God loving people. I really can't even express in words how much it meant to me. I was able to relax (well, try to) and enjoy the day. I can't ever thank them enough, honestly.
Is this the prettiest cake you've ever seen or what? The inside was just as pretty too...it had three pastel colored layers. It was flavored with some sort of light fruity goodness like passion fruit, guava and I don't remember what else. The picture doesn't do it justice.
Later, another friend took me out to eat for the evening at a little bohemian inspired eatery, Le Creperie Cafe. We had a great time catching up, praying together and encouraging each other. Afterward she took me to Color Me Mine. My two girlfriends helped me paint/decorate a trinket box. It should be ready for pick up next week. I can't wait to see the finished product...I hope it's not ugly. You just never know with those pottery paints that don't look exactly like their colors until they are finished being fired.
I made the polka dot dress I'm wearing too. isn't it great? I love the style. I knew when I saw the polka dot fabric I HAD to make my graduation dress with it. Our school colors are black and yellow--thus the yellow shoes! Plus my DIY grad announcements/invites were black and white with polka dots, accented by a yellow ribbon. It was too perfect not to coordinate, right?
Over all, it was a really fabulous day. I was tempted to go into my old habit of focusing on the negative--those who I wanted to be there but chose not to be, for whatever reason. But if we choose to focus on what we DON'T have--we miss out on all we DO have. And I truly have A LOT to be grateful for in my life.
What *I* have...is very valuable to me...as it should be since I have no control over what I don't have.
Anything else that falls away...falls away.