Friday, May 27, 2005


My daughter Kelly graduates from high school tomorrow. This has been a dream of mine since I was a young adult, seeing one of my children graduate. Now I can scarcely believe the moment is almost here. This is my little girl we're talking about!

I remember when she was a tiny baby, a newborn, and I held her in my arms. I remember changing her diapers, feeding her, helping her get dressed, taking her to daycare and picking her up, reading stories at bedtime, fixing "owies", playing with her and her sister at the playground, and stepping in to break up their fights. I recall the birthday parties, sleepovers, helping her with homework, and guiding her through her scoliosis surgery four years ago... Kelly has gradually become less dependent on her parents. Now she's heading out into the world, mostly on her own.

I feel like part of my life is dying, but at the same time I vicariously feel a sense of personal rebirth through Kelly, which makes this change a good one. Her life is spread out ahead of her, and at this point it's like a fantastic road trip. The map is there, but there isn't really a set route she has to follow. She has the freedom to make her own choices, for better or for worse, and to learn by her own actions. Kelly isn't anchored in life, she is basically free to roam and explore. There is a certain excitement to be found in the insecurity of young adulthood, and I believe she is prepared to face this time in her life with the necessary tools for success.

Kelly will live at our house this summer, and then she will live in a dormitory this fall. She will attend college here in town at the local university, so it isn't like we won't see her around during the coming school year. There will be times when she comes home to eat, get something she has been storing at the house, and hopefully just to hang out and visit. I hope she asks me for advice sometimes, just as I hope I refrain from advising her too much. Viewing her as an adult will not be easy because she has always been dependent. But this is a new phase in our relationship, and new phases often require readjustment.

While I know I will dearly miss having her around all the time, I know Kelly's life is her own to lead, and while I'm dealing with letting her go, releasing her, sending her out into a world that is often not kind to kind people... I am the one dealing with that more than Kelly is. She is young, excited, happy and full of wonder about what lies ahead. My heart is stretching in too many different directions right now for me to adequately describe my deep feelings of love, pride, hurt, grief and excitement for her and for myself. There are just too many emotions to sort out, but I know this is the way things are supposed to be. And I find comfort in that knowledge, that this is a rite of passage for both Kelly and me. It helps me to focus not just on me or on her, but on me and her, as father and daughter. Life is truly good today!

By the way, did I mention Kelly is a Democrat? 8-)>


Blogger J. Marquis said...

Congratulations! She's a great kid and that's at least due somewhat to the fact she has great parents like you and Kit. Please tell her I said hello.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Congratulations to you and your daughter...

3:20 AM  
Blogger Lizzy said...

I hope your daughter reads your blog because that was beautifully written. She is very lucky to have such a wonderful father and it sounds like you have given her what she needs to make her own place in the world. Congratulations.

8:15 AM  
Blogger halcyon67 said...

Congratulations to your daughter.

I will be graduating high school soon. Yes!!! Whoo!!!!

11:42 AM  
Blogger David said...

Congrats to all of you, John. Can't quite imagine having a daughter about to go out into the world -- not with Sophie still in Kindergarten. She's already assuring me she's still a little girl and will be for a long time, so I can just relax...

Not that I do.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

I can't even imagine having a child, much less sending her out into the world. At least you will have less responsibilities now. And if she's like the rest of us, she'll be back regularly.

10:59 AM  

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