Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pride, Dignity and Truth

It takes a lot for me to not work at all on a Saturday. For the entirety of my professional life, Saturday has been a work day. But not yesterday. While work is exceptionally important to me, yesterday it was trumped by something else. And it was not even a close call.

Yesterday morning Suzanne had conferred upon her a Masters of Science in Speech Language Pathology at Seton Hall University. What seems like a lifetime - but was actually sixteen years ago - I had my Juris Doctorate conferred upon me at Seton Hall University. Sitting yesterday morning in Walsh Gymnasium watching Suzanne receive hers, I know that I did not feel nearly as happy for myself sixteen years ago as I did for her yesterday morning. And I know that I was not nearly as proud of myself for what I had achieved sixteen years ago as I was of her yesterday morning. Once upon a time Suzanne was just a little girl. Yesterday she not only earned her Master's Degree, she was inducted into an Honor Society and won the award for Academic Achievement in the Speech Language Pathology Program. Actually, she "won" nothing. She earned everything.

And it was particularly terrific that yesterday her grandfather also did something that is out of the ordinary for him. Joe took the day off. And I know he is glad he did. Instead of being at work, he was there to see his granddaughter graduate. His ear-to-ear grin while watching it all and the big "grandfather-sized" bear hug he gave her after the ceremony was over served as proof positive of the propriety of his choice. And it gave Margaret and Suz equal shots of happiness that he was there as well. Ours is a family that has been through a hell of a lot over the past couple of years. Yesterday was yet another opportunity to shift the focus away from what we have lost and back to what we have. And to who we are.

A parent's wish - or at least it should be - is to provide a template or a baseline of security for his or her child from which that child can grow, mature and flower before heading off into the world. We strive to give them a life at least a bit better than the one we had at their age and to assure that when the day arrives to give the youngster a loving shove out of the nest that he or she is ready to fly solo and while turbulence will undoubtedly be encountered, the landing will not be fatal.

We want them to have the wisdom of the ages. Yet we wish for them to remain at least in part forever young.....

....and to allow us to share in a day - such as yesterday - that allows us to do likewise.

-AK

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