Archive for December, 2014


Monday, December 15th, 2014

I was at Taylor’s graduation yesterday, he finished his Master’s degree a semester early! We had a nice brunch with him and friends. As the brunch wound down, the one who holds my heart brought out a little velvet bag from her purse. It held her fathers gold watch. Taylor had worn this watch for his undergraduate education to remember his grandfather who was a tireless supporter of his grandchildren’s academic success. As Taylor tried on the watch it was clear it wouldn’t quite fit as the band had bent just a little and no one wanted to risk breaking it. The watch went back into its velvet bag and came along to graduation with the rest of us.

Part way through the reading of the names, the one who holds my heart brought out the velvet bag, “He is here with us,” and held it in her hand. He was there with us as her son walked across the stage shaking hands and receiving his diploma, I thought of the watch as a bringer of good fortune, a talisman of sorts. The speaker at graduation noted that everyone receiving their degree that day was the beneficiary of the work, values, fortunes, and dreams of parents and relatives going back generation before generation. All had dreams for their children to learn, to be, to become a person who would contribute to the human enterprise.

The feelings all this brought up were surprising, I saw my daughters crossing the stage as they received diplomas, I saw Erin and Ashley as brides, I flashed back to funerals, graveside visits, afternoons in my Grandfathers house, listening to stories in the warm room as he spoke, and napped, and spoke again, and Grandma’s eye twinkle as he would restart the story when he’d wake up with a start from his nap. I saw my students crossing the stage, students from the 70’s on up and felt the pride in them all that I felt watching Taylor be recognized for his accomplishment.

Accomplishment, learning, graduating, marriage, promotion, commitment, all are things that children do as they become adults that parents take pride in. As I sat in the arena, hearing the families shout and whoop and clap when their family member’s name was called, it struck me that the room was full of the warmth of pride. The dictionary says pride is an inwardly directed emotion, but these families were working hard to make sure, as we were, that everyone else in the arena knew what they were feeling as they heard that name. As the ceremony ended, families and graduates circled for pictures in small groups, grandparents, parents, graduates, siblings, and loves together shared pride. I have no doubt each carried with them a picture, a ring, a watch, or a prayer card from the ones who went before them.

I’m proud of my daughters, and proud of the one who holds my heart’s son and daughter, and I think its important to reach back and feel the pride others felt in us. Its good for us to feel that pride, that love people have and have given us over the years. I don’t remember my parents telling me they were proud of me, the closest was maybe Dad telling me I had good hands after a spectacular one handed catch in football, or when he said I was a good mechanic after inspecting some work I had done with him, it would’ve been nice to hear him say he was proud of me but I think that generation just didn’t do that very much. It isn’t hard to do, giving someone a sense of your pride in them, and maybe it won’t mean so much to them at the moment, and sometimes it might seem like we don’t have the right standing in their lives to tell them but we should anyway.

I’m proud of you Erin
I’m proud of you Ashley
I’m proud of you Maggie
I’m proud of you Taylor

Be good to each other, tell the ones you’re proud of that they’ve made you proud
Carry those talisman’s with you to bring our fore-bearers with to important events, or just to keep them close every day
Be safe over the holidays