On June 8th, 2007, my eldest child and only daughter, Eliza, will graduate from Hampton High School. Eliza is one of 310 graduating, one of our high school’s largest classes.
Thousands of young men and women will graduate this month from high schools through-out the country. For each of these students, there are proud parents or guardians sitting in the audience during graduation. Each one of us will have our own thoughts and feelings as we watch.
For those of us that have been single parents, we will remember making those hard decisions on our own. “Should Eliza take that AP class?” “Should I allow her to attend that party?” and “Is this fever high enough to take her to the emergency room?”
Eliza and Kathleen
For the parents of the children who may have struggled academically or socially, they will remember staying up extra late, helping with a book report or term paper. They will remember driving their child to tutors, getting extra help. They will remember praying that their child would get invited to a birthday party.
For the parents of athletes, they will remember sitting in the rain, the snow and hot sun, watching game after game after game. They will remember sharing the joy of a hard fought win and wiping the tears after a heart- wrenching loss.
And every parent will remember the first day of kindergarten, middle-school jitters and high school struggles.
There will be many grandparents in the audiences as well. They will be wondering where all the years went, remembering their sons and daughters, the parents of these graduates, when they graduated.
Eliza and Dolly
My own mother, Lillian “Dolly” Ganster, will be watching her granddaughter, Eliza Lillian, graduate from the same high school that she graduated from 60 years ago. Eliza and my mom share many things including my mother’s own Hampton class ring that she gave to Eliza.
June 8th, Eliza’s graduation date, is also my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday mom and thanks for all of your help to me, a single parent, in getting Eliza to all of those band practices, games, meetings, etc.
And like other parents, I will not only be smiling when my own child receives her diploma. Many other students in the Hampton High School Class of 2007 are near and dear to my heart. So when Adam, Mallory, Melissa, Tahnee, Anna, and many others are on stage, along with their own parents, “Mama G”, will also be proud.
To the young men and women graduating, congratulations. You should be very proud that you have reached this important milestone in your lives.
Be safe -- while you deserve to celebrate, remember you have many people who love you. You will never know how treasured you are to your parents until you have your own children.
As you move forward in your lives, go after your dreams, make them come true. It is up to you. And make your parents proud.
To my own precious daughter, Eliza, as our dear friend Dale said, “Eliza was an adorable little girl who grew into a beautiful woman.” You are remarkably funny, an amazing writer and have the gift of being able to talk to anyone, anywhere. Remember how intelligent you are, how good you are with people. I know you will go far.
I don’t have to say, “Go forward and make your parent proud,” Eliza. You already have.
By Kathleen Ganster