Saturday, May 19, 2012

Graduation: an ending and a beginning

This evening my first grandchild, Maggie, graduates from high school.

If you read Grandma’s Letters from Africa, you’ll remember Maggie, that little babe I wrote letters to from Africa. 

She’s all grown up now. How can that be?

The words of Sunrise, Sunset tread softly in my mind and heart, and I change a few words for Maggie:

Is this the little girl I carried?

I don’t remember getting older, when did she?

When did she get to be a beauty?

When did she grow to be so tall?

Wasn’t it yesterday when she was small?

What words of wisdom can I give her? How can I help to ease her way?

Sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days.
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.
(adapted from Bock and Harnick’s song in Fiddler on the Roof

Graduation: a successful completion.

But we also call the ceremony a “commencement,” a beginning, a start, a launch.

However we define it, it’s a major turning point in life.

What do you remember about your high school graduation? Or your children’s graduation?

What vignettes can you write to entertain your memoir’s readers?

Does or did your family have traditions surrounding graduations?

What wisdom can you pass on to your readers about completion and new beginnings?

What stories can you tell to help ease their way?

Be sure to include photos! They can be priceless.


  1. That is amazing that the little one your wrote home to has passed another major milestone. Time goes too fast.

    I remember my daughter's high school and college graduations as if they were yesterday. She was a speaker at her high school graduation and I was so proud of her comments to her classmates.

    When she received her Bachelors, my husband sobbed and I was grinning so big that no one could wipe my smile off my face. Then off to an open-house for her.

    She did not "walk' for her Masters and her PhD, because they were in December and many colleges don't have formal graduations then. If she would have, we would have been there. My husband sobbing because he was so proud and me - laughing, because I would so proud.

    1. Janet, what lovely memories you have of your daughter. Congratulations on raising such a fine young lady. :)

      I don't think I could have kept the tears from flowing if my daughter had been the speaker. Wow.

      Have you written a vignette about her graduations? I hope so!


  2. What a lovely granddaughter you have, and yes, that puts it in perspective that she is the little one you wrote letters to.

    Today my third son graduated from college, and I was not there to watch him receive his diploma. We have no traditions, but I have to admit this hit me harder than I expected. I am crying as I write this.

    Thanks for more ideas for my blog. Congratulations to "little" Maggie.

    1. Oh, Jamie Jo, my heart goes out to you. I wish I could help take away your tears and your heavy heart.

      When we lived in Africa, my husband and I missed both our kids' graduations for their Master's degrees, and we missed our son's graduation with his PhD. That's the one that hurt the most. I was so very comforted to know, though, that both sets of his grandparents traveled half way across the US to attend his graduation, and that was very special. Bless their hearts.

      Hugs to you, Jamie Jo,

  3. With that heart-melting smile, your granddaughter just has to have a bright future. I echo your excitement and thoughts. In less than three weeks we'll be watching our oldest grandchild reach out for his high school diploma, and I simultaneously tear up and smile each time I think of it.

    I've also been thinking of the appropriateness of the word "Commencement" for this transition occasion. Lots to talk and write about with him.

    1. Hi, Sharon, thanks for your kind comments about Maggie. She does have a bright future and we are eager to see the directions her life will take.

      Her graduation last night was lovely. I'm enjoying the photos and replaying so many things in my mind. Grandmothers ponder things a bit differently than do parents; it's a new thing for me to consider that I'm old enough to have a grandchild old enough to go away to college. Like the words in the song, "I don't remember growing older. When did they?"

      Have a wonderful time with your grandson at his graduation, Sharon, and thanks for stopping by the blog.


  4. What a touching story to begin my week on a warm note. Your granddaughter is a beautiful young woman, I can see why you're bursting with pride. And thanks once again for the inspiration and ideas you give the rest of us for telling our own stories.