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Our First College Graduate

by Toiny Westberry on 12 May 2012
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Twenty-two years ago I missed my own college graduation, and instead had a beautiful, amazing, perfect little boy.  He changed my life forever.  Last Saturday my little boy graduated college.  The first in our family to do so.  I cannot describe the enormous pride, love, emotion pouring out of my body.  I have tears just typing the words.  My little boy graduated college.

It took us five long days to fly out of Ramstein, and that is a whole other story.  We almost said “enough”, but we didn’t quit, we got on a plane, and another plane, and another plane, rented a car (two actually) and made it to the graduation with over a day to spare.  There is nothing like getting out of a car, a beautiful red Escape we nicknamed “Jenny”, on a stunningly perfect California day and having not one, but two, of your sons run out to hug and hold you and be so incredibly real.

The morning of the graduation Dave and I walked into Soren’s house (we had dropped the little ones off with his aunt & uncle in Sacramento) to find a very, very nervous Soren with three very, very nervous roommates.  Soren is a strong, well-rounded, self-confident young man but his eyes then, pleading for me to help, priceless.

We helped him pick a tie, took some pre-graduation photo’s and then watched him walk down the path, away from his home, in his cap and gown, wave and disappear around the corner.  My throat caught a little. A tear threatened to escape.  It was one thing to send him off to kindergarten, but this was his college graduation.  His last step to really, truly becoming an adult.  That image, his gown billowing around his feet, his big smile, his hand waving, that image stays in my head.  The moment my little boy became a man.

We spent the next half hour decorating his car with post-it notes arranged in beautiful rainbows.  Messages filled with love, good luck and silly remarks.  Then all of us, friends, family, class mates, walked the half block to the breath-taking campus of University of the Pacific.

The business school graduation was under the Pacific Tower, in the shade of big, leafy trees.  Orange banners, and huge bouquets of orange flowers surrounded us. It was almost a fairytale setting.  The graduation was perfect, the speakers eloquent, and I cried when they read his name.

I cried again when I hugged him hard after the ceremony and then, for the rest of the day, I just smiled.

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