Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Yes, You Are

I attended a commencement ceremony yesterday. It was simple, less than 40 graduates and their families, a few professors and administrators. Among the speakers was a young woman who rose to provide remarks as a member of the graduating class. I happen to be a bit of a public speaker myself so I always attend these things with a probably-too-critical point of view.

But I was impressed. This young girl was articulate, poised, grammatically correct (very important!), and succinct. All that, and I actually loved the content of her address.

As she concluded, the young woman recalled for the audience a conversation she'd had with one of her classmates. This friend, trying to console her during a difficult time, told the young girl about a time when he watched a rocket launch with his grandfather. The young man had been devastated when the base of the rocket had fallen off, he was sure the rocket had broken and all was lost. His grandfather had reassured him that all was as it was intended, and the young man now reassured the girl, "Some things are meant to get you to a certain point, and then they just fall off."

I smiled at the bittersweet of this.

And then our daughter - our daughter who we had launched with the force of a million tiny pushes, and countless dreams and prayers and wishes, our daughter who had been propelled by our own hands, the hands of a thousand other people in her life, and the most important hands, that come from a much higher place, our daughter, this elegant, refined speaker - our daughter smiled and turned to her graduating class of Collegiate Scholars at the University of Freaking Chicago, and said, "We are the rocket."

And I'll be damned, Lu, you really are.

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