Kind of a personal blog today. My wife just graduated from Lake Washington Technical College. Two years of studying and sacrifice and working her buns off, and she’s now a newly minted personal trainer / fitness specialist. I guess I had forgotten how important the ceremony itself is, until I was sitting in the audience watching all the students file past.
Watching her in her cap and gown, I realized just how amazingly proud of her I was. I always knew. I’d told her a hundred times or more. But it is important to watch these moments, to be part of them. The ceremony matters, in some subtle way. The ceremony makes it real.
I remember the day I graduated from college. It took me a while. I had dropped out of college in my senior year after the college decided not to give me credit for my year of study overseas. So I quit to go to work. It was two more years before I went back. Those were some pretty tough years, for many reasons.
What amazes me, in hindsight, is that my father didn’t yell or disown me through all of it. This is a man who had given his life to education. My father held two doctorate degrees, from London University and Columbia University. He was internationally known, a full tenured professor at the same University that I had dropped out of, and was voted best Professor by the students more than once. Yet he stuck with me. He gave me kindness and he gave me room.
And on the day that I finally graduated, he attended, as all faculty have the right to do, wearing his doctorate sash from Columbia. And as I filed past the section where the faculty sat, he stood up, reached over the railing, and shook my hand. He was the only professor to do anything of the sort. It was the proudest moment of my life.
Congratulations Marina. We are so proud of you.