Thursday, May 27, 2010

Graduation Eve

On Monday night, we went to our school district's athletic awards banquet. I really thought this would be a "safe" event. Hannah was not involved in athletics, other than being the manager of the girls' basketball team. She was far more interested in academics than athletics. I figured this would be one May event that I could handle without too much trouble. We arrived, and walked up to the front of the room to the tables closest to the stage...the tables that are usually reserved for the faculty and administration. As we were about to find our seats, I saw that these tables were indeed reserved...there were signs on them that said, "Reserved for Parents of Seniors". It was like a physical blow. We immediately (and somewhat awkwardly) backed away from those tables, and went to find another place to sit. Not the best way to start the evening!

We finally settled in, only to watch the senior football players, the senior basketball players, the senior golf players, the senior track athletes, etc., etc. be called up to the stage. As the basketball manager, Hannah would have received a plaque and a monogrammed blanket, and I have a feeling she would have been recognized as an outstanding student athlete. We were very proud to see Bethany recognized as part of the all-district track team (she was not eligible for any other awards since she is still technically a junior high athlete), but we sure missed seeing Hannah walk across the stage.

So tomorrow night is graduation. It has finally arrived. As the high school principal, Brad has traditionally been the person who calls out the students' names as they receive their diplomas. As of today, he still hasn't decided whether or not he'll actually be able to do it this year. He really wants to...He has a real attachment to many of the students in this class, and would very much like to do them the honor of calling out their names. But when he gets to the "S's"...I just don't know. I know I couldn't do it...There's no way I would even try! I'm honestly not sure if I'm even going to be able to stay in the audience. Calling our daughters' names and presenting them with their diplomas is something he has always looked forward to doing. It's going to be a really tough night for him...probably one of the toughest since her death.

We will have the privilege of presenting the Hannah Joy Sullivan memorial scholarship to one of these students tomorrow night. We do not choose the recipient...he or she is chosen by a scholarship committee. It would be impossible for us to do, especially considering that these are Hannah's classmates. We do know who was chosen, though, and we are very pleased. That presentation will be the highlight of the evening for us.

Lately I've seen lots of comments on Facebook from parents whose kids are graduating from high school...or junior high or preschool...and many of them talk about how sad they are to see their kids growing up. And in the fall, there will be comments from people who cry as their kids start kindergarten or middle school or college. Please, please don't waste precious time being sad about your kids growing up. Rejoice with your kids as they reach these milestones in their lives. Make a conscious decision to enjoy every minute you have with them. Every age and every stage is a blessing and a gift from God. Experience each moment in its fullness and in gratefulness to God.

This song by Chris Rice (from the album "What a Heart is Beating For") kind of sums up my feelings today. Hannah may not be able to participate in her earthly graduation, she can still take a bow...

Baby Take Your Bow

We're gonna miss your song and dance
The way you made us laugh
And we're so glad we had the pleasure for a while
But on the other side you'll find a better audience
Just be yourself and you can't help but make the angels smile.

Baby, all the world's a stage
Playwright pens your final page
And then He brings your curtain down
So blow us your kisses and drench our eyes
We'll rise to our feet to wave goodbye for now
So baby, take your bow.

The world is lovlier because you had your moment here
And we could see a friend of Heaven in your face
And in your song we heard the longing for a distant shore
And now your time has come to go, and so be on your way.

Your show is over now
It's time to lay your burdens down
So baby, take a bow.

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