I was going through old photos last week to make a video for our son's high school graduation and I found this- my high school Senior picture.
But here is the thing...I never actually graduated from high school.
That is correct. Actually, I dropped out of high school in 10th grade because I became pregnant and eventually on and off homeless.
I took some classes while pregnant in a special home for unwed pregnant teenage girls...that was awkward.
I took some classes at a high school when I was shipped out to Northern California because I was so severely abused by my boyfriend at the time that we all feared for my life...that was traumatic.
But I never graduated.
Finally, at around 20 years old and only a 10th grade education, I heeded the pleading and begging of a dear friend's mother (who was a teacher) and I took my GED exam. Thank you Ms. Gail Purvis, you were a sprinkle of hope in my life at that time.
I remember sitting in the GED counselor's office after taking the "prep test" to see if I would actually pass the GED exam or if I needed to take some classes and listening to the counselor say, "Why aren't you in high school finishing your diploma? Your scores are so high you could go to college on scholarships!"
I muttered, "No, thanks, just give me the damn test please."
And there it was. I took the GED exam and passed with a score that made the counselor shake his head as I walked out of there that day.
But I never graduated high school, so when I come across this picture I tend to laugh inside. And then it makes me sad because it reminds me that...
I have never heard the graduation march play as I walked across a stage.
I have never been on the stage, receiving my diploma and shaking someone's hand at the same time.
I have never turned and looked into the stands and smiled as all of my family screamed and cheered for me.
I have never turned my tassel or have thrown my cap up in the air.
I will never have a high school reunion.
So that is why I go big when my children do all of the things I never was able to experience. When my children walk across that stage, they take me with them in spirit - not just as a proud mother but as an 18 year old street kid who dropped out of high school but who is now living in this moment with them!
My children provide so much more for me than I could have ever imagined and I am so thankful to them, my husband and God for this amazing life I have.
Congratulations to all the graduates out there this month! Appreciate it deeply, not everyone gets a chance to experience it. You are truly blessed.