It never ceases to amaze me what kind, loving, generous people are in my family’s life. My daughter graduated from high school today, and as I looked around us this evening, I was struck with a profound sense of gratitude for those who love us.
My boyfriend took the day off work to attend. He picked his son up from school, and they arrived at my house early to ride with me to the church where the commencement was held. He held my hand and cheered and clapped just as loudly as I did. He held purses and programs and diploma covers afterward as we took photos. When we got home for our family party, he helped me get the food ready for everyone. He cleaned up the kitchen after 10 people destroyed it. And he was so busy taking photos after we ate that I just realized he wasn’t even IN any of them. But you know what? He was here, and he was present (those are two different things, you know), and he made sure my daughter knew how proud he was of her.
Her two lifelong friends, sisters who are basically family, made a point of asking to attend the graduation with us. They drove over in the pouring rain, dressed to the nines, and joined us for the ceremony. They also cheered and clapped and made a fuss over our graduate. They posed for and took photos. They made sure my daughter knew they cared by showing up and offering her that friendship that comes from knowing her like a sister.
Another of her friends from elementary school stopped by with the big, bright smile she has always possessed. She beat the other girls here, but she came right in like she’s been doing for years and chatted about her own graduation (which occurred a few days ago) and talked with us about her college plans. I could see her in my mind in the cute little print skirts she used to wear as she stood in my kitchen, an almost grown young woman, in her jeans and Birkenstocks. It amazes me that these kids are now adults.
And finally, the parents of the aforementioned sisters arrived with sister number three for dinner and conversation. These are people who have been like second parents to my daughter. They have stuck by my family through thick and thin and have offered the kind of love, support, and encouragement that anyone on the planet would be blessed to receive. When I hear the word “friend,” these are the people that come to mind.
As we sat around my table, I looked at each one of these extraordinary humans. I saw my daughter with a bright, confident smile on her face. I watched her interact with everyone, knowing how happy she was that they were here for her. I thanked my lucky stars for the umpteenth time for every single one of them.
We are blessed.