What I Learned From My Daughter’s Graduation (Plus Love Does Not Die)

Dad and Angel

Dad and Angel (Photo credit: nualabugeye)

“Live life simply. Be kind. Do what you love, passionately. Make mistakes, fail and start again.” At my daughter’s high school graduation yesterday, we heard quotes from Steve Jobs and Dr. Suess, no one mentioned getting an MBA or Harvard Law; it felt like the world was undergoing a much-needed change and this was the generation that was going to do it. I felt like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were humming “Teach Your Children” in the background and I felt proud.

Class of 2012, you gave renewed hope to all of us aging baby boomers who sat and listened with smiles on our wrinkled faces and aching feet. Yes, I have bunions and hammer toes and I did take my sandals off to walk in the grass for a few minutes but then I realized my daughter would never forgive me if she saw me or G-d forbid, heard about it through a friend, so I ran back to put those stylish pink flower flip-flops back on.

Graduation was a lovely distraction and a glaring omission. It was held on Father’s Day and my dad passed away almost ten years ago. My mom was there and my in-laws but not MY dad. I believe in angels and signs and that the dead communicate with those of us left here on earth. Love does not die when someone leaves the earth, I know that for sure.

Right in front of me stood a man, ducking to get through, that looked so much like my dad had looked, wearing the exact shirt my dad used to wear, that I gasped and caught my breath. “I thought that was Dad” I squeaked to my no-nonsense mother who refused to even listen to my “angel moment.” I knew, I knew in my heart that was my dad’s sign, he has always been present for ALL important celebrations. In my heart I knew that while it may have not been him in the flesh, it was his angel, a sign for me from him. Thank you, Daddy.

I wore the dress my daughter picked out for me, the shoes, the necklace, (or as she used to pronounce it when she was little Neck-a-less”) I can still hear her young voice in my head if I try hard. When I saw her walk in before the program started, I took a photograph of her in my mind that I hope will stay there forever. Her beautiful blonde hair, straightened for the joyous occasion, hanging from under her blue cap, her blue gown flowing from the breeze on a sunny day and her bright smile and wave when she saw her grandmother and me. It was a rare glimpse into her world and it made me so happy.

After the reception I knew it was all about her and her friends. In our excitement we forgot to take pictures as a family, how can that be? We’re human and we got caught up in time and it simply slipped our minds. That’s what memories are for, photographs that stay in our heart.

You are starting a new journey, my beautiful, grown-up girl. You are fearless  and strong, independent and wise. There is no doubt in my mind that if you want it badly enough, you can change the world. Keep the faith; I know you will do great things for this world. I know it in my heart.

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