Let’s go back to graduation.

What’s that you say? Not the right graduate?

I know, I know, it’s all about Claire these days, but TODAY is that boy’s birthday.

The boy who made me a mother.

The boy who made my heart want to burst. And still does.

The boy who puts up with all his sisters.

The boy who chose such an awesome wife we all love.

So I did a whole separate post about him to post today as well.

Check it out HERE.

But, since I want to wrap up graduation before summer is in full swing, let’s talk about Claire too.

Because it happened.

She’s a graduated girl.

One more digression before we delve in.

Because look at this darlingness:

This is Claire with her two second-cousins (who we just call cousins:) back at their Joy School graduation years ago:

We had to do a little recreation of that picture because they’re still here, together, and we love them so:

(We have looked forward to doing that for a long time:)

Ok, so here we go:

On May 26th my friend and I lugged all our stuff over to the school when the gates opened to save some spots in the bleachers for the big graduation ceremony.

It was 107 that day. A real wing-dinger.

The family all joined in (along with thousands of other people), and we all crammed in there and everything turned into a sweat-bowl (!) as the sun dropped:

(That picture was taken before Dave’s parents arrived.)

And then the bagpipes came in, followed by all those graduates (I think 800)…

And we sat and watched the sky shift and change…

…those gradient colors melding together as such a beautiful backdrop for the graduates.

We listened to good music and good words.

Followed by the announcement of all those graduates.

Including our own:

The FOURTH to walk that stage.

To take that diploma.

To get ready to fly away from home.

The fireworks signaled the end of the ceremony and the tossing of the hats and we made our way down into that hot mess of commotion on the field:

Trying to find everyone amidst the masses of kids jumping into pictures and crying and laughing and trying to hold on to those last minutes of high school togetherness.

The cousins from the Joy School pic at the top of the post:

Volleyball seniors minus one:

Dear friends:

The dearest of friends:

We pretty much closed down the field.

And I walked away so empty.

This day was hard for me.

But it was weird how I could feel so empty yet at the same time so full of love for all of the experiences each of my children who have walked that stage have had at that school.

For all the teachers, all the friends, all the coaches, all the ups and downs that high school brings. Grateful for the counselor that helped us get through our semester in China (transferring credits). Grateful for the principal who has done so much for that place (and for the new principal coming in who was Lucy’s principal in junior high). For the lessons learned from being left out, for the late-night papers that they have learned so much from, for their friends’ parents who helped raise them.

And I’m grateful I still have one more to walk those halls, and to learn so many lessons from that experience. How I pray she will be enveloped in goodness as she makes her way.

Congrats on a job well-done Claire Bear!

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  1. Congrats to Claire!

    I am surprised that Grace, and now Claire are going to a small, mostly LDS college with very little diversity, after being in a high school the same way – all the girls look like cookie cutter copies of each other – tall, blonde, long hair, from well-off families …. no people of color, no one who is in a different economic status, no diversity at all.

    You’ve always said you wished your kids could live/be somewhere other than the bubble, but oh well, that’s where you ended up so bloom where you’re planted…. but now they can live/be anywhere they want! And they chose the same bubble!

    No offense, and no criticism, just surprise.

    1. UVU isn’t a church school. If I were 18 of marrying age I would attend a school I could find a spouse. They likely will attend for 4-6 years if they have a mission somewhere in there. College is a fit. Only a tiny percent of the population is this religion.

    2. Yes to what Kristine said and it sounds like you’ve read this blog enough to know that we have sure pushed tirelessly to get them outside the “bubble.” But in the end, you’re exactly right, “they can live/be anywhere they want.” It comes down to their own decisions made with input from everything we’ve taught them growing up and what makes sense to them. And then we just support them and love them from our seats “in the bleachers.”

  2. Congratulations to your beautiful girl!! What a bittersweet time (so happy for all she has accomplished and so sad for a time of life that has come to a close). We’ve graduated two and have our last two with just a few more years to go. You’re such an amazing mama!

    Dawn, I’m guessing that you meant the best when you wrote your comment, but I feel like it’s not particularly kind or helpful. People can bring love and goodness to any circle of human beings they’re around, and these kids are doing just that! Sometimes with today’s emphasis on diversity (which I love and applaud), we can lose sight of our sameness. We all are humans in need of love and friendship and belonging. Those needs are universal. It doesn’t matter your income or your background. There are complex reasons why we all choose to live in a certain place or another, but once we are there and we are in that place, every piece of this planet needs as much love and nonjudgmental as possible

  3. Congratulations to Claire!!! So happy to see in person graduations return throughout America! I’m just curious about the candy bar necklaces… I am sure there is a back story ;)))

  4. How does your family do Adult kids Shawni? Will Claire have a full time summer job before heading to college? I’m not from AZ/UT so it’s shocking that these kids seem to have no jobs they just seem to live a very fun life of taking trips, beach trips, hanging out, doing all the fun things, and yes so fun, but Who’s funding all these things and how are you teaching them that this is not the norm in the world?

    1. Working on that in all kinds of ways. Most of these kids, including Claire, have jobs and have worked to get time off to celebrate graduation. Claire has now had her last day in preparation for moving and starting college next week.

  5. Love the candy bar necklaces and all of the flower leis. Wondering how the candy bars held up in the heat! Congratulations to Claire!

    1. Most of the candy wasn’t chocolate so it fared ok, but I bet the chocolate was melted to smithereens by the end of the night!

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