The graduate is our one and only, my 'Honey Girl'. We are so excited to be joining her on the Main Quadrangles of the University of Chicago as she graduates with a bachelor's degree in International Studies on June 12th. It seems like only yesterday that she was sitting on her daddy's lap listening to him read One Fish, Two Fish.
Or in pigtails and a plaid jumper, all ready for her first day of kindergarten:
You ask, "After she graduates what will she do?" And I answer with a sparkle of pride and a shudder of trepidation; "She's off to Bangkok to teach English to preschoolers at an elite school." I need to believe she will be safe. My husband reassures me, she reassures me, the school director reassures her and in turn, me. I remind myself that at 22 she IS an adult. I think back to my own graduation from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and I reminisce. Leo Buscalgia spoke. Now how many of you can remember who spoke at YOUR college graduation? I was enthralled, empowered, emboldened.
In short; there were stars in my eyes and the love of my life was at my side (although I wasn't certain of that fact then). So, this quote from Buscalgia seems fitting for Anna Rae as she holds her diploma in one hand and her passport in the other:
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo Buscalgia
It was a wonderful graduation ceremony in spite of the rain and we were happy to be joined by so many relatives in Chicago. I think that our girl felt honored and I know here dad and I enjoyed our time in Chicago. Probably the most memorable moment was our 'small world experience': We had taken the el into Chicago and we were walking across one of the several magnificent bridges crossing the Chicago River, on our way to the Hotel River North. Anna Rae had told us she would be on a boat tour when we arrived but that she would meet us at our hotel afterwards. So at the midspan of the bridge we stop and look down. Chris says, "I wonder what boat she is on." Jokingly I say, "She is on that one," and I point to a tour boat that is just beginning to motor under the bridge. "No, she is on that one." says Chris and he points to a second tour boat coming from the opposite direction. There is a split second pause and he says, "No REALLY, there she is, I see her!" and we yell her name and wave frantically. She looks up and we all laugh and smile as she and the other 50 or so people wave at us! That was the beginning to a wonderful week in Chicago.
In addition to the graduation we saw the ticker tape parade for the Blackhawks who had won the World Cup. I had a spot in a slice of shade against the side of Macys. I was grateful for the cool cement wall at my back because it was a hot and humid 90 degrees and there were thousands of happy people for as far as I could see. On another day we rode the clean and comfortable Metra to the Chicago Botanic Gardens which were beautiful. It was hard not to take an obscene amount of pictures.
And of course we ate lots of great food in Chicago. Anna Rae's celebratory dinner was at Fiddlehead Cafe on the North end and the food was delicious and the company of family and friends made it perfect. We also ate yummy tortas for lunch at XOCO, one of Rick Bayless' restaurants which was very close to our hotel. Just walking around Chicago on a sunny summer day was a treat because at the time, Seattle's weather was so cold and crappy. The graduation and time in Chicago was really a boost that got me through the last 5 days of teaching (although it was not easy to go back to the classroom for those 5 days!).