June 4, 2010

High School Graduation

Posted in Children, Family, Traditions tagged , , , , at 6:55 am by Liliana

Nicole

Nicole

Last Tuesday, my family and I attended my niece, Nicole’s, high school graduation. It was an unusual event, different from many graduations that I have attended in the past.

Nicole went to an alternative high school, a small, intimate place where kids are encouraged to explore their individuality and to cultivate their talents and interests. The ceremony honoring a hundred graduates reflected this emphasis and celebration of differences. The students could wear their caps and gowns if they wanted to, but they didn’t have to. Some wore shorts, others came in suits and ties. A number of girls wore formal dresses, a few wore embroidered skirts.

Each student had a minute to make their voice heard. Some played an instrument or sang a song. Some thanked their parents or teachers. Others read sentimental poems. Some quoted famous men and women. A surprising number mentioned that they didn’t think they would ever graduate. One girl unabashedly embraced her intelligence and geekiness. She admitted that calculus was her favorite class. A young man played his guitar so beautifully that my husband Jeff and my brother-in-law, Joe (who both deeply understands music) almost cried.

I knew that Nicole was nervous. How could she not be in front of her peers, teachers and family? But as her name was called and she walked out on the stage in her elegant black gown, she was in complete control. She leaned to the microphone and thanked everyone for their support and friendships during her years in high school. The only constant in life, she said, is change. No profound quotes or sentimental rhymes from that girl. But her calm, mature voice expressed that she was ready to accept the baton of the next generation.

Good luck to all the young voyagers.

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June 3, 2010

The Secret Garden

Posted in Children, Family, Garden, Home tagged , , , , , at 6:50 am by Liliana

weeds and more weeds

Weeds and more weeds

Most of my readers know how bustling and hectic my household has been this spring.

My sister and her family have moved in. My niece has just graduated from high school, and my daughter and nephew are graduating from college in June. My oldest son is preparing to move to the East Coast to study international law. Grandparents are visiting from Florida. I have a full time job. A lot is going on.

We are organizing a large celebration for all three graduates at the end of June. The invitations have been designed and sent. The idea is to have the event outside, in our garden. We will place a number of tables and chairs under trees, cover them with white tablecloths and place little containers of wild flowers on each table. We hope for a perfect, sunny day, although I can’t imagine why. It has been raining non-stop almost every day the entire spring. Not a little bit of rain, but torrential monsoon-like downpours that bring to mind climates much more tropical than Michigan.  As a result, our garden is overgrown in weeds.

I started painting the outdoor furniture a month ago. We have an old, pealing arbor on the patio, and I have decided to spruce it up with dark, hunter-green paint. I plan to paint the two benches and the metal garden furniture the same color so everything looks fresh and elegant. I have scraped off the old paint and applied the primer. That is as far as I got. The furniture has been sitting in the middle of the weed-ridden patio for weeks now. Even when I have a few minutes to paint, it doesn’t matter. The wood is either already wet, or it is raining. The ladder has been patiently waiting next to the arbor.

Well, we only have a few weekends left and a lot to do. The furniture needs to be painted. Every inch of the garden is covered in lush, tall, healthy weeds. They need to be pulled out and replaced with flowers. We have a patch of vegetable garden that has no vegetables. The weeds there are impassable. I have no idea what can be done in that corner. Vines are crawling up the side of the house. We need to pull them out and mulch the shrubbery. The stubborn areas between the patio bricks need to be weeded. And then, the flowerpots are waiting for new tenants.

We can do this. Right?