I didn’t get picked to be Valedictorian and that’s fine with me because I don’t think I could make it through any speech on such a big day without a massive amount of tears.
But if I did, I think it would go a little something like this:
I have heard some of my classmates really downplay what this means to them, “it’s just a diploma, I’ll celebrate when I get my degree,” and other related statements. For my family and I though, this is a huge win.
It was around this time last year I almost gave up on my third year to graduate early because I thought I had a great job and I didn’t really need my third year. It was my mom who talked me out of this and until this week I didn’t understand why. Her main argument was she didn’t want me to miss my chance at a convocation ceremony. At the I didn’t care if I walked across the stage in front of hundreds of people I didn’t know to receive a piece of paper that could be mailed to me.
Well Mom, I’m proud to say that it took awhile but I finally get it. It isn’t just a walk to get a piece of paper; it’s the last leg of the three-year journey my family and I have been on together. It’s not just my win, it’s everyone’s.
This is a win for my mother who spent her days off watching her grand daughter, who wasn’t always the best behaved. She had a million other things I’m sure she’d rather do on her days off than change diapers, do laundry, cook meals etc. but without complaint she watched Ellie, cleaned the house and provided everything we needed to make it as easy as possible on me while I went to school.
This is a win for my grand mother who also spent a large portion of the last three years babysitting. Who unselfishly devoted herself to ensuring Ellie was cared for if I had meetings, or club events, or class trips. Never complaining and was always there when called.
This is for my dad who helped me discipline and teach Ellie when I was away for school, and was always willing to watch her if I wanted to see friends. Even after long days at work if I had to get homework done he was always willing to help even if it was just helping get her to sleep.
And this is for my Grandpa, especially my Grandpa, who delayed retiring for a year so he could be there for me during my last year. Who drove me to school everyday and having his only complaint be when I fell asleep in the car, who gave me advice (when I stayed awake in the car to listen), and was always willing to wait (sometimes hours) for my classes to be over to drive me home.
It’s with the help of my family that I am graduating tomorrow, and in that time I learned more about family and love in these three years than I have my whole life.
So tomorrow when I walk across this stage, it isn’t just a diploma, it is the best present I could ever give to my family for their hard work, dedication and love.