Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gonzaga University, Class of 2014

It happened last weekend - on Mother's Day. David graduated from Gonzaga University.
We can hardly believe that four years could pass so quickly - that the boy we left in Spokane to begin his freshman year looking like this
would mature into a young man who now looks like this:
I was feeling all kinds of emotions during the weekend - most of them happy - and a lot of nostalgia. It may sound cliche, but this truly is a beginning and an ending, a time of good-byes and packing, parties and photos, cleaning and discarding, "last times" and the anticipation of "first times." It's the end of an era for our family, as individuals and as a unit. It's the beginning of new responsibilities and freedom for David. It's a time to move away from friends who have become like family. My heart hurt for every loss, temporary or permanent, that David was facing. My heart swelled with joy and pride in his accomplishments.

Gregg and I were privileged to be present when David picked up his senior thesis from his professor's office, and to hear her words of praise for his efforts and achievement in the finished work. He and his writing partner have been encouraged to submit the thesis for publication! I could not be more thrilled for him.
The house on Sinto St.
Housemates Chris and Erik with Gregg and David, getting ready to play Beer Pong
David and his housemates organized a party for their families the night before graduation. They ordered a catered dinner - a wonderful barbecue spread - and arranged tables and seating for the meal and games. It was a real treat to meet and mingle with his housemates and their parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends. I laughed so much that by the end of the evening, my face hurt - the sign of a great party.

We had a dinner with our cousins, walked all over campus and downtown Spokane, revisiting places which we have enjoyed during the past four years. I can hardly believe it's over.
I stopped in the Mary grotto to pray, as I love to do when visiting Gonzaga's campus. This time, I thanked her for her care of our son, and asked her to continue to watch over and guide him.
At the outset of the graduation ceremony, one of the priests offered a beautiful, simple prayer. He said, "God, you are here, and we are here, and it is enough." For full and open hearts, it is indeed enough.
Watching David walk into the auditorium and take his place with his friends and classmates was very emotional for me. Seeing his professor stop to hug him during the faculty procession moved me deeply. Watching him cross the stage, receive his Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice (with a Business minor) and shake hands with the president of the university were moments of pure joy.

David chose Gonzaga with certainty and clarity, and it was absolutely the right place for him. I am grateful that he made this decision, proud that he earned an academic scholarship for each of his four years, and grateful for the generous foresight of family members - for their help in making this experience possible. I am thankful that David was able to spend a semester with Gonzaga-in-Florence, and that he grew and blossomed through that experience.
Son and father at the "after-party"
Grandparents, uncle and aunt at the "after-party"
This kind of life-event highlights the differences between my emotional spectrum and Gregg's, in bold. I would say that my range is like that of a pipe organ,
while Gregg's resembles a xylophone.

Not that Gregg doesn't have feelings - he has, and deep ones - but their range is far less dramatic than mine. He remains calm and unperturbed, while I experience the highs and lows. Having said that, it was a BIG weekend for all of us. Now, David is packing up his things in preparation to move back home and begin his search for a job.
This message goes out with love to all of David's friends and their families, near and far, who have been part of his Gonzaga University life. May God bless you and keep you, and shine upon all of your days! You are always welcome in our home.


Jennifer Stumpf said...

Beautiful post, Karen. ♥

Karen said...

So many emotions swirl around graduations. As you say, it's an end to so many good things, and the beginning of others. I don't know if I will ever learn to ride those two waves well, without bumps, churn, and feelings of deep loss. Xylophone people have it easier! Your son has grown into a handsome, admirable, accomplished man--- which is an achievement well worth the cost of tuition and the emotional spin of graduation. This is a great moment.

Elizabeth said...

Stunning. Your boy turned man is absolutely stunning. It's so wild to me that I've watched him go to college and now he's finished, and I'm grateful for all that you've shared. May his future be filled with peace and love and health and happiness doing what he loves. Congratulations to you Karen, and your husband, for shepherding this fine human into real adulthood.

P.S. His degree in Criminal Justice sounds so cool! Gonzaga intrigues me -- I wonder if my Henry would be interested in it. He goes to a Catholic high school here in LA, and I believe it's a popular college destination for Angelenos.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all of you. And mostly to David. You captured this beautifully.
Another pipe organ

Busy Bee Suz said...

I had tears of joy reading this post. I'm so happy for David; 'he did good'!!! So wonderful about his thesis too; wonder where he gets his writing skills from?? :)
What a great experience for both he and his family to be a part of such a community AND to earn an education.
The range of emotions between you and Gregg is EXACTLY like mine and Jeff's. He is always on a 'even keel', where I feel deeply BOTH directions. The joy and the pain, the happy and the sorrow. What's the old saying? Men are from Mars and women are perfect?? HA HA. yeah, something like that.
Congrats to all of you!

Ann said...

That's awesome Karen. Wishing David much success in his job search.