Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day everyone! Today is a time where family gathers around the head honcho and gives him some encouragement for all he does for the ones he loves. Your family could be like Justin Wilmot's whose opinions never quite settle with your own, thus like he, you find yourself alone and quite reserved at gatherings. Or, you could have family that supports you in everything like Adam Freeman's father, Papa G. Regardless of who your family is, be happy you belong to one.

In my immediate family, I am nowhere near reserved. I voice my opinions, I play, I bicker, and I laugh--all things that should be condoned, to a degree, in a healthy household. And though my father makes mistakes like any person, he has always put my brother and I first in his life. We eat before he eats. He works, we play--which is not very fair, but my current situation has left me no time to find a job that will hire me for a mere month; and my brother is only thirteen. He is an all-around good dad.

Even from the time that I was baby, I was a Daddy's Girl. My mother may have resented it, but I was unwilling to change sides. He has given me common sense and valuable wisdom and reason to go after what I want most. It is because of my father that I have what I have and I am who I am. Words cannot truly express how grateful I am.

Today is not about the musical Superman card from Hallmark that I signed. Today is not even about the lemon meringue pie that Shanna plans on baking. Today is simply about the good my father has done and respect I have for him.

It is my hope that those reading do not have a rough relationship with their father. If you do, I am sorry, but I hope you can recall at least one special memory you have of your father to help you as you celebrate. Remember: everyone deserves their day.

Thank you Daddy for all you have done for me! I love you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Graduation Day

I held my breath. It was all I could do. My nerves were acting up, and my mouth was gaping open. Graduation day--it had finally arrived. Friday, May 29, roughly 350 students from Ola High School graduated and took that long walk across the stage. That long walk petrified me.

Pomp and Circumstance was playing; a pause, and Mr. Iddings, our principal, introduced the class of 2009 to those sitting and standing near the bleachers. We marched in two single-file lines and made our way through the gate. The closer we got, Alex, Brittany, and I could see the plethora of parents, relatives, and friends that packed out both sides of the stadium. Adrenaline rushed through me, and I thought I might faint. I have always had horrible stage fright and loathed being the center of attention--this was no different. My arms locked up from what I believe was a slight panic attack. But I could not stifle my excitement.

Luckily, on this crisp, May evening, the wind blew just enough to keep me from burning up beneath my emerald robe. "Breathe," I kept reminding myself. I have lived eighteen years, and just graduated after completing twelve years of schooling, and yet, remembering to breathe was the hardest task ahead of me as I walked along the field and to my seat. The administration went through several ceremonious speeches, the senior chorus students sang a song, and then, row-by-row, each one of us rose together and walked to the stage to--as tradition and our practices have taught us--shake hands with a few important people and receive our diploma holders. I was standing at the edge of the steps and my heart was racing. I could hear Brittany behind me saying, "Oh my gosh, Jennifer, we have made it!" Assistant principal, Mr. Shedd, called out the name "Jennifer Lynn Gleason," and I took my first few steps across the stage.

My family, Melody's family, and fellow classmates that still sat waiting for their turn, cheered. Chills ran through me, and a bright smile covered my face--despite the fact that my insides churned and I felt like I could have vomited on Mr. Iddings nice shoes. I walked to Mr. Iddings, shook hands, took my diploma holder, continued on to shake hands with two more people, and walked down the steps on the opposite side of the stage. It was over. That was my moment. I held a nice pose for the photographer, and then proceeded to my seat.

We sat patiently as the other half of the class did the same. We all stood at our seats as the administration congratulated us, and the chorus sang our alma mater.

Raise your voice, for the days of Green and Gold we proudly lift up high.
Through the years sharing tears and laughter, our memories never die.
All our dreams and hopes begin here and continue through our lives.
We will always remember our days at Ola High.
We will always remember our days at Ola High.

Our class president took the stage and gave us a speech on doing the best we can, and together, we moved our tassels from right to left. Cheers and screams emerged from the class and we threw our caps into the air in celebration.

It was easily the most exhilarating and rewarding day of my life. After twelve years, I finally got to hear my well-deserved, "Good job, we're proud of you."