Friday evening, I had the honor of watching my girl graduate, with honors, from Southeastern University.
The ceremony was held at a large, impossible to navigate to, church in Lakeland (Siri thought it was on I-4 instead of just off of it).
The church was festive, decorated with Christmas lights, wreaths, and trees.
This graduating class consisted of about 192 young people.
Southeastern University is a Christian college that walks the talk it puts forth. Every part of the commencement ceremony honored God, from the opening prayer, to the congregational hymn, to the speeches that were given before diplomas were awarded.
Quite honestly, this didn’t feel like a college graduation but a Sunday morning worship service.
It was warm and cozy, with graduates sitting in the first few rows and supportive family and friends sitting behind them.
Chicky’s best friend, M, drove from UCF, the college she attends, to watch Chicky graduate. She’s a lovely young woman whom we’ve had the privilege of knowing for almost ten years. She and Chicky played travel soccer together for most of those years and only separated when their college paths put them an hour away from each other, playing for different schools.
We consider her a member of the family, so it was with great joy when she sat beside us.
I thought I wasn’t going to cry during the ceremony, but when the music started, and I saw Chicky walk down the aisle, a single tear escaped and rolled down my cheek.
I couldn’t help it. It was a tear full of pride in my beautiful daughter…for all she had dreamed for and accomplished through hard work and sheer determination.
M and I had quite the fun during the proceedings, let me tell you, and whispered conspiratorially about what we would do when it was Chicky’s turn to walk across the stage.
It wasn’t long before her time came, and it was with great pleasure that I hollered when her name was read.
Chicky, ever the clown, made one of her silly faces and put her hands in the air while making some sort of gesture, the kind of cool gesture that only young folks look good doing, and walked across the stage…
All the while sporting her favorite shoes…
Her soccer cleats.
It was a plan hatched by her and K, Chicky’s roommate and teammate for the last three years.
Mary, K’s bonus mom, took photographs of the girls as they walked back from the stage…
My Chicky is on the right.
Please take a moment to inspect the length of Chicky’s graduation gown.
She, being Little Miss Know-It-All, decided, when ordering her gown, that she’d better go up to a 5’6″ one because she was planning on wearing heels.
Folks, the girl is only 5’2″.
When she tried on the gown before leaving her house, it nearly reached the floor. It was also extremely spacious around the shoulder and torso area.
It would seem that 5’6″ people are a little bigger in other places too.
What Chicky failed to realize was that no matter if she was wearing heels or not, her body would remain the same size, and that gown would hit her body in the same way it would if she were wearing heels, slides, or soccer cleats.
Please note that the women in my family aren’t exactly known for our common sense.
Regardless, it was a marvelous evening filled with a lot of laughter.
K’s family is precious. Chicky is so fortunate to room with a gal who has supportive family. I feel as though our family keeps growing with every friend Chicky invites into her life, and we are blessed for that. K’s family treats Chicky like one of their own.
Thus, it was no surprise that we went out to eat together afterward, extra friends tagging along.
The Mr.’s parents were also at Chicky’s graduation, able to watch the first of their grandchildren obtain a post-secondary degree.
This morning, before we began our drive home, we met Chicky and K at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. It was one last chance to see the girls; we shared a time of sweet conversation and more laughter.
I snapped photos, which Chicky agreed to with a minimal amount of complaining.
Mary, K’s bonus mom, later commented (after I texted one to her) that the girls looked older today.
Yes, they sure did.
Although Chicky has been teaching for over a month now, and K will begin working on her Masters degree in January, both girls have firmly planted their feet into the adult world.
It feels strange to say that I am the mother of a college graduate.
I don’t feel old enough, that’s for sure, and I’ve been told I don’t look old enough either (these same people have never seen me before I put on my makeup).
All I know is that I give all of the glory to God, for it wasn’t me who reared a successful child…not on my own, that is…but God’s grace that allowed me to, and for that I will forever be grateful.