Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

We Made It…Now What?

Each year, our local high school holds its graduation ceremony at one of the loveliest sites in the area, a sloping sweep of lawn overlooking the lake. For the 12 years we’ve been here, I can’t remember a day when the weather is bad–not that we were in the habit of attending graduation, mind you. When the Magpie took the walk, it was sunny and hot. Last year, when the Catbird had to be there for the ceremony as an usher, it was sunny and REAL hot. To my understanding, they haven’t had to go to Plan B–holding graduation in the high school auditorium–in our time here.

Graduation day

Yesterday, they nearly had to go to Plan B. It rained Saturday afternoon. It rained Saturday night. It rained (heavily) Sunday morning. By the time we took Catbird up to the school at noon to get ready, it was still raining. But the weather service radar showed a hole in the clouds and the hour-by-hour forecast showed a window of non-rain. Apparently it was the students of the Class of 2015 who made the decision to go on with the show.

When we got to the site, the rain had turned into a mist. By the time the school buses arrived with the kids, it had stopped completely, and while the sun never really came out, it tried, and the day warmed up enough to be comfortable (except for the occasions when the wind blew), and it was fantastic. I am proud of my girls, and as much as I lament in a way the passing of this era, I look forward to the next one. We’ve already seen remarkable changes in the Magpie, whose self-confidence has soared in the last three years (and particularly the last 10 months when she’s been living in Japan); now it’s the Catbird’s turn, and I can’t wait to see her continue to grow.

This last week we spent a lot of time around the kids and parents of the Catbird’s classmates. Some of them, like us, watched their last child graduate this year. Others have one, two, three or more to go. I find myself wondering how our relationship with these people–and with the community as a whole–will change. So much of our lives is centers around our kids and their lives. It always will, I suppose, but now the focus is a little different. Onward!

4 Responses

  1. CONGRATS to her! That is so exciting! We have a long while as parents before we get to where you and your wife are now but it helps to think of it as the beginning of a new era instead of the end of what we know as parents! LOL. Wishing her big successes as she moves forward!

  2. What a beautiful location. I'm glad the weather cooperated. Congrats to your daughter. Yeah, the ending of an era in life can be kind of sad but at the same time exciting our kids who have so much yet to look forward to.

  3. Love the people sporting the fashionable (not!) rain hats. At least the weather cooperated. I think it's great your birds are leaving the nest as they should. Too many of my friends never have time for themselves because their kids are still young. Seriously, I know one of my friends could be a Big 5 pubbed author if she had time to write more than a chapter every 6 months. I think you're now liberated!

  4. -Lisa–at the risk of sounding like everyone else in the world, it will go fast. Thanks!
    -Donna–it's even better when it's sunny!
    -Lexa–when you're faced with sitting in the rain for 2 hours, you do what you gotta do!

    Thanks, all.

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