As of Saturday May 31, I am officially a high school graduate! It is strange to finally say these words after years of assignments, projects, and tests at Osakis High School. Reflecting on my graduation day is truly a tribute to the many years I was blessed to be a student at Osakis.
My sweet mama threw her heart and soul into my graduation party. We have had a delightful time the past few months arranging all the details of our little gathering. My sister painted an old gate for us to display pictures and quotes on, in lieu of traditional photo arrangements. Small samples of fabric in my party colors of turquoise and coral cut into triangles with pinking shears were sewn to binding to create little pennant banners. With some help from Shutterfly and the sweet quotes of Anne of Green Gables, my guest book now contains pictures that tell the story of my life and the kind words of those who attended my party. A hat box set on the piano bar stored cards of well wishes. Coral colored Gerber daisies in blue mason jars adorned the tables. The beautiful quilt that my meticulous grandma so patiently sewed was proudly displayed with clothespins. Our menu consisted of fried chicken from the Corral, Grandma’s potato salad, fresh fruit, Rhode’s buns, root beer floats, peanut butter brownies, lemon bars, and Special “Kate” bars. The evening passed all too quickly in a rush of wonderful conversations and encouraging intentions from my family and friends.
Our commencement ceremony was held Saturday afternoon and went well, considering the lack of ventilation in our gymnasium and the impatience of my classmates to be done with high school. Wearing the gown and ill-fitting cap was a strange feeling for me. After years of watching my siblings and older friends graduate, I had many assumptions about what it would actually feel like to stand in my high school with all of my classmates together one last time. Graduations are known for being bittersweet: exciting adventures ahead but a multitude of friends, experiences, and memories are left behind as the transition to adulthood begins. Growing older and the changes that accompany this natural progression of life are absolutely terrifying at times. But we won’t know what’s around the bend in the road if we lack the courage to take the first step towards it.
I was honored to give a speech at commencement regarding the present. In closing, I stated that: The present time is a beautiful one. We are on a bridge, casting a glance over our shoulders to the difficult and worthwhile path that brought us here and gazing at the uncertain yet hopeful destination ahead of us. One of the most simple and challenging things to do is live in this moment. Yesterday is over and we have no guarantee of tomorrow. All we have for certain is today.
Amongst graduation parties, the allure of summer, and college preparations, the future can be exciting and scary all at once. We have so much that we want to or need to do that we can easily fail to see the sweet and beautiful moments playing out before our very eyes. Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a season for everything. To my fellow classmates, this is our season to celebrate all that we have become and all that we have yet to look forward to. Take in this present moment and each one that comes your way. And always remember, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the everyday, moment-by-moment journey.
At Crooked Willow, we love old things because they have stories and they have character. I think that speaks well of people too as they write another sentence of their own stories each day. Appreciate the memories of the past, look confidently to all that the future will bring, and love each and every moment. Hoping that whatever adventures are in store for you this summer, you are inspired to live in the present. -Kate