Tuesday, May 17, 2016


I graduated from high school the day Steve gave me my engagement ring, in June 1974. The memory of sporting my sparkly diamond totally eclipses walking across the stage at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. I would tell you that I have fonder memories of college commencement but—shoot! I forgot to finish college! They say it’s never too late, but in my case I strongly suspect it is. Sometimes I feel a little sad that I don’t have a degree from an Institute of Higher Learning hanging on my office wall, but then I look at photos of my children (and now grandbaby) and realize I don’t have a single regret.

I revel in my kids’ graduations, though. From the tiny Curtis Institute of Music, to the much vaster
Evan's Graduation Day USNA
Naval Academy and Millersville University, these were red letter days to me. I totally understood why Rose, who finished Berklee College of Music a semester early, did not want to return to Boston for a cap and gown ceremony (but I admit I was a little bummed). Julie is halfway through St. Francis College, and I am already eyeing “Congrats, Grad!” banners and napkins to fete her.

We have one graduate degree in the family, and one soon to come. Sher received his M.A .from Manhattan School of Music, in a ceremony that I remember because a) it took place in a beautiful church on Riverside Drive and b) the commencement speaker was actress Angela Lansbury. Lord willing, Evan will complete his Master’s in July from Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

And I look ahead to a future where my little Aiden graduates from elementary, middle, high school and beyond…not to mention the future academic careers of my grandchildren-to-be.

Life just doesn’t give us all that many public punctuation marks. Other than graduations and weddings,
Sheridan and Ya-Jhu's Wedding Day
our years tend to pass unmarked by the world at large. And it’s a shame, because there are so many other milestones that deserve a hurrah. How about the first time your firstborn slept through the night? How about the day you paid off your house (for us, the impossible dream, but still)? No one seems to stay in a job long enough for a gold watch, so retirements after decades with one firm are becoming rare, but still awesome if they occur.

As for birthdays, your immediate circle will note (perhaps) your 30th birthday, your 50th. Otherwise, you need to be in the Guinness Book of World Records to rate a headline (my hope for myself: World’s Oldest Woman Dies at the Roulette Table in Vegas, Smoking a Pipe and Chugging Straight Bourbon!)

So I challenge you today to think…what are you graduating from this year? An old, outdated mindset? What are you retiring from? Too many years of worrying? What are you marrying? A new commitment to the people in your life (friends, and friends you haven’t met yet)?

The milestones are yours to claim, and celebrate. So go forth! I salute you!

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