Graduations are upon us.

It is the time of year that our children celebrate the milestones that come with age. For some, it will be from Preschool or Kindergarten, Junior High or Middle School. For others, it will be High School and University. Each one miraculous and wonderful. The look on their faces as they recognize their achievements is nothing short of amazing. Their accomplishment is parallel to the amount of commitment they have put forth. Skin of their teeth or sailing with honors, all of it upon their shoulders.

We have been down this road several times. And it still has the power to move me no matter the milestone.

I remember vividly, Scott asking me shocked, if I was spending that amount on Jordyn’s grade 8 graduation dress. “You know it’s not high school right?” I did. It still didn’t matter.

Who decides what celebrations are more deserving of others? Each rite of passage should be denoted and remembered for it is certain that the moment will never come again.

I have invested as much in my children’s grade 4 graduation as I have in their high school ceremony. Maybe not monetarily but always with the same enthusiasm.

At Bellevue, our elementary school, there was, traditionally, a year end performance. Parents would pick a song that was current and formulate a dance routine to perform at assembly.

Ryan’s year was High School Musical. “We’re all in this together” was our anthem and the dance our deliverance. Okay, well not as dramatic as that. We had like a week to learn the routine and most parents came and went as schedules allowed. We were a rag tag group. I could tell Ryan wasn’t impressed with the new commitment to his year end assembly. “Whatever….it’s not like anyone will know who you are. ‘S not a big deal.”

Hmmmm, I do believe a challenge was issued. And I, baby boy, have accepted.

Game day.

The parents stepped onto the stage, to the stifled giggles of the grade 4 graduates. And we killed it. (I’ll let you decide if that is a good or bad thing). But I will tell you that as every parent turned around, on their back was a picture of their child. Each had the same caption: Mine, in bold, read

Ryan Shtuka’s Mom.

Of course, teachers don’t require such debasement from parents as our children grow. We are granted a reprieve of sorts.

But the memories remain. The celebrations another chapter in our children’s lives. I am glad we took such joy in all of Ryan’s graduations.

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

– Jim Elliott