Friday, May 22, 2009

Thanks for the Memories

Last night was Lucy's graduation from kindergarten. Before we left for the ceremony, Darren and I gave her a gift--her own Bible with her name stamped on it and a Bible cover. She has been carrying around my childhood Bible that my Grandpa Garner gave me. In it he wrote the words from the book of James, "Be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only." We repeated those words in the inscription for Lucy. She was so happy to have her own Bible (and cute pink cover for it!)

Then we headed out. They held the graduation in a church that is near the school for which I was profoundly thankful since that meant we got comfortable chairs, rather than sitting on bleachers.
Here is Lucy in the courtyard beforehand...

And here she is with the famous Daniel--her best friend from kindergarten and the boy who told me he was going to marry her.

I absolutely love this picture with the ray of light shining down on her. Wait--have you noticed something? These pictures are GOOD! They're not blurry! Ta da! We have a new camera!

Here are the lovely Mrs. Clark, the sweet kindergarten teacher's assistant (those assistants have my undying admiration and respect. They do all sorts of behind-the-scenes work and menial tasks that no one sees) and of course, Mrs. Blevins--of the fabulous hair--most wonderful kindergarten teacher ever.

Here are the kindergartners lining up in the foyer, getting ready to march. There are four kindergarten classes at the school, with almost 100 graduates this year.

Elaine and I staked out a row of seats, both Darren's and my families arrived, and the graduation was ready to begin. First, four kindergartners came out. Two welcomed us to the graduation, and one led in prayer. Then the last little girl stepped up and said, "Don't go away! We're going to get our friends now!" I have always been known as a big cynic, but ever since I had my girls I am basically just a soggy marshmallow. I started tearing up right away.

The familiar sound of "Pomp & Circumstance" began to play, and all the kindergartners began to march in. I leaned over to my mom and said, "Remember when I graduated from DePaul and there were over 900 other grads? They were playing that song for like, an hour and a half." She just rolled her eyes at me. That graduation is not one of my fondest memories--not the least of which is that the speaker for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (which I was in) was Sister Helen Prejean, while the Law School got Bill Kurtis. Nothing against Sister Helen, but...BILL KURTIS. Not that I'm still bitter or anything.

OK, back to the kindergarten graduation, which thankfully had no speaker at all.

First, they recited the three pledges they say every morning: to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible. Then they sang a dear little song in Spanish called, "I've Got Music in My Heart." I can't tell you what it was in Spanish since my five-year-old knows far more of that language than I do. Then they all recited Psalm 100 and sang another song. And then it was time for the diplomas.

I had called my brother earlier that afternoon to give him directions to the church. He asked, "How long is this thing going to be?" "I don't know, probably an hour. There are close to a hundred graduates," I answered. "Well, it's not like they're going to make them individually go and get their diplomas, are they?" he asked. Silly man. You can tell he's not around kids very much.

Not only did each child receive his or her diploma individually, they each stepped up, gave their name, and said what they wanted to be when they grew up. Among the boys there were a lot of future policemen, firemen, and secret agents. One boy who said he wanted to be a plumber drew a lot of cheers. I was very pleased with Daniel who said he wants to be a scientist. Among the girls there were a lot of future teachers, artists, and cheerleaders (as if). There was another cheer for the girl who wanted to be a school principal, a collective "awwww" for the little girl who said she wanted to be a mom, and I clapped extra hard for the two little ones who wanted to be missionaries.

You could tell some of these kids copied from their friends and some kids had been coached by their parents. One little girl said she wanted to become a model and be very rich. One boy raised both his arms and said, "I'd like to thank my parents, the Academy, and God," except he didn't quite get "the Academy" and said, "the economy." Good luck with that. And I thought secretly, "Yeah, in the words of Darren, you will probably rise to mid-level corporate America and be the obnoxious manager that everyone hates."

Here is my girl, who stepped up confidently and said in a voice as clear as a bell, "My name is Lucy and I want to be a cook!" She won't say "chef" because she thinks all chefs are men. That's OK--it works for Rachael Ray now, doesn't it?

After they received their diplomas, they honored each teacher and teacher's assistant with roses and sang a song called "Thanks for the Memories," in sign language. I really teared up then, and Lucy said later that Mrs. Blevins was sitting in the front row, crying. Then they sang an upbeat song called "Ready to Go," the superintendent closed in prayer, and presented the future class of 2021 to us.

Now it was time for some family photos. Here is my family. Let me say a word about them. They are the most wonderful people in the world, but they are maddening at picture time. My dad is always in a big hurry to leave, my brother acts like the concept of a family picture is the most baffling thing in the world, and my sister-in-law and mom--who have absolutely beautiful smiles--refuse to smile their normal smiles or sometimes any smile at all. Are they Victorian?

What is wrong with these people? You would think they were ancient Indians or something, and the camera was trying to steal their soul.

Here are my dear in-laws who drove almost three hours to attend this illustrious event. They act quite normally for the camera.

And here is a picture of my mom, the two girls, and me. It's not a particularly wonderful shot, but throughout the night I kept thinking, "This is probably the last graduation my mom will ever attend," so I cherish it. My mother-in-law hugged my mom and said, "People all over the country have been praying that God would raise you up to be able to be here tonight!" Yup--teared up again.

I just realized while looking through these pictures that we have absolutely none of Darren and Lucy together. He was behind the camera the whole time. Sorry, babe!

Here is my favorite shot--my dear little first-grader-to-be; ready to go!

Congratulations, Lucy! We are so proud of you!


Melanie said...

Okay, having a hard time typing because I'm crying. That sounds like the most moving, wonderful graduation ever. I LUV the pics and that last one of Lucy is awesome! I'm so glad your mom was able to make it and I'm so glad you shared the experience with all of us. I love that the kids each got a chance to say their names and aspirations. Yay, Lucy!

Ann-Marie said...

I'm with Melanie, just reading that brought tears! Congratulations to Lucy! So proud of her! A Bible is a wonderful keepsake, and I'm sure she'll treasure it always (I still have the porcelain box I received for my K-5 graduation). I'm also so happy your mom was able to be there. What an amazing blessing!

Danny Lucas said...

I believe that the title of this blog [Guilford Road: IloveyouI'mcrying] is very accurate, in this post.

Lotsa crying.
Scientists have long tried to create life. To date, the only known place where all necessary ingredients for life (water, salt, protein in the form of albumin, if I recall, and temperature) can be found in one location is.... a teardrop.
Those drops of water are rather sacred.

Lucy is a doll and Daniel has his priorities in order by staking an early claim.
At this age, I found it useful to sit with my daughters and pray for the PARENTS of the boy they would eventually marry one day. God knows them already, and the boy.

I told one daughter that the boy was probably 8 years old already, .... and she interrupted the prayer and asked me:
"Could we make that closer to 12 years old, dad?".
I relented.

You may want to adopt the same practice for your future son-in-law. We prayed the character traits my girls desired in a mate, and that the parents teach the boy in such a way as to incorporate those traits.

What I like about Daniel, is that Lucy is already a Daniels. This expands the name in the family, a wonderful start already.
May his dreams come true one day!

Alice, you are with your mom and the girls in one shot, but I can not figure out that bling you are wearing in one hand. It certainly is enormous, but I have never been to a graduation where white hangers were held. :)
Some day, fill us in on that.

It is a blessing from God that all generations were together for a fine occasion.

Congratulations Lucy!
The best is yet to be!

Thanks for the memories, Alice.

Best regards,
another Daniel

Laura Brown said...

What wonderful photos! Congratulations to Lucy.

Jill said...

How exciting for all of you!!! And I'm very happy for you that you have a new camera. It (you) takes beautiful shots. What kind did you get? Congratulations to Lucy!!!

Juliet said...

Congratulations Lucy! Your graduatiion from K-5 reminds me of when my daughter Ann-Marie graduated from K-5.

Alice what great photos! I also love the last photo of Lucy. It's so natural.

I'm so happy that everyone from your family were able to attend. Your Mom looks great!