To our daughter, who graduates today.
I have spent hours upon hours poring over pictures overflowing from dull blue bins in the garage. They are all of you: images of your first year, where you fought to walk two months’ shy of your first birthday; your toddler years, when determination and drive compelled you to compete long before you learned how to speak; and your childhood days, when you expressed – at times – a quiet reserve to observe, and at others, a relentless drive to win, no matter the cost.
This is too hard.
I remember when you were probably 4 or 5 months old, and we went to Gambrills State Park and played and played under the falling autumn hues. You laughed so hard as I held you in the air, spinning you around, stopping time, and understanding – perhaps for the first time – how deep a love can be, how strong a wish for safety, how powerful a command to protect, to provide.
We have all the time in the world.
That’s what I thought then.
What I know now is that the deep love only deepens, the strong wish for safety only intensifies, and the powerful command to protect, to provide, evolves, whether I want it to or not.
And so, there is a letting go, on this Graduation Day.
I admit that it has been hard at times in the past year to evolve with you. The giggling baby girl I threw in the air all those years ago now stands a strong, confident young woman, ready to embark on a new journey to Denver.
I am sorry that it has been hard for me to let go. Love does that at times. But as you have done all your life, you let the world know that now – more than ever – it is time to let you love, and let you grow, as that individual.
In that dull blue bin, I found a particular picture of you that inspired me to compose a few lines. It’s not much, really, but it is an expression of my love for you, my absolute pride in who you have become, and my unquestionable belief in you, and in all that you do.
Happy Graduation Day, Holland. May this be the beginning of even greater days ahead for you. Don’t ever forget the joy of spinning ‘round and ‘round, giggling as the breeze catches you at every pass, and holding that smile no matter how high or low you might go.
And most of all, know that no distance will ever separate the love and admiration that we have for you.
To Holland: When Daffodils Bloom
In early spring, you held daffodils when you were two,
And I marveled at the innocence both in the hand and in the bloom;
Two miracles of life that held my heart,
And I watched you spin in the wind
Swirling hues that were rich in beauty, rich in art.
Now, here we are:
The sun-splashed fields of summer’s dawn.
I struggle to recall those moments in youth
When the world seemed still before us both.
Life-times bank’d of together-times to come.
Now, all grown, those days are done.
As you graduate into the wilds of summer’s bright light,
And radiate a path in the glow of your shine;
(New Daffodil-yellow rays that fill these grown-up days),
We adjust our ‘strings,
Let go of the child,
Hang on to memories, the dreams,
The very moments that now define
A young woman: beautiful, refined.
The pride, love, and happiness I have for you has never been greater.
I will always love you! Dad