the one with the LCHS Class of 2016 and my graduation pictures
This group is graduating next week! Another year has passed and the LCHS Pirates are ready to take on the world!!!! I'm pretty excited for them, actually.
I remember my high school graduation. I felt completely weird and sort of sick to my stomach. I was working at Sonic and enrolled at NSU (Northeastern State University) for the fall. My mom was moving completely across the country and I was moving in with friends over the summer. I had broken up with my longtime boyfriend and was still reeling from that and then to top it all off, I had turned my skin orange taking some stupid pill that was supposed to help you tan. Yep. This was before google. Google would have saved me from all these embarrassing photos that I'm going to share here.
You see, vulnerability is where it's at folks. And if I can admit to this Class of 2016 that I screwed up, messed up, and HELLO! I"m sharing it here on social media, then you too can mess up and be real and still make it out on the other side ALIVE. It's OK. It's part of being young, stupid and making mistakes. It's just orange skin after all.
Back to my graduation week, you see my parents are divorced. They have been since I was young, like 3rd grade. So, when Dad made the trip back to Stigler for my graduation, this was HUGE. I'm so glad he brought his camera and took these photos or I wouldn't have these memories. But I must admit to being nervous about all of us, the 4 of us being together. Thank goodness we had something to distract us. You know, two teenagers on graduation weekend in a small town like Stigler that HELLO! Lived for a party! I mean, it's one thing to get past your momma, but your daddy too? I was nervous. They let me go out anyway. Thanks, parentals. I appreciate it.
Graduation night after party was at the Gerald's House. They were the cool parents. The ones that let us all hang out together in one place and not have to worry about dragging main or partying at the Power Plant. They were an awesome family that accepted everyone. The popular kids, the misfits, the geeks, ALL OF US. And they loved us all. We loved spending time there!
Me and my sister were not that close in high school. I was only 14 months behind her, but she was everything I wanted to be and couldn't be. She never knew this about her self, she suffered from insecurity that we all do. She was the pretty sister. The one who grades came to easily. The one who always had boyfriends. Who always had popular friends. It seemed like it came easy to her. I just remember her always fighting me for the family car and arguing with me about being in her room, wearing her clothes, etc. We did share friends that were sisters. That was one thing that kept us semi-close. I'm thankful for that. I'm talking about Traci and Tonya McDaniel. Shout out to those two fine chicks!!! Lots of memories with them!!!
I was an OK student. I tried, just enough, I feel. I didn't take school as seriously as everyone has to now. Gosh! The pressure now is so intense! I honestly don't see how kids cope. I took all the right classes, had teachers that cared about me and I did OK. Sitting through graduation I realized I didn't try near hard enough. I remember wishing I would have applied myself more then I did. But I did OK.
These 4 above, missing Traci by the way. We were tight. As in every day, together in some capacity. We were always together. We grew up together, learned hard lessons together, loved together. I learned everything I needed to know about survival in this world from these fabulous ladies. They were the BEST of the BEST to have your back, to have fun with. They don't realize it, but their families gave me a glimpse of how family life could be. I had it good, don't get me wrong, but I didn't have it complete. I remember how much their daddy's were involved in their lives. My dad was states away. I only saw him at Christmas and in the summer time. I love my dad, but distance in that day and age made it hard. We didn't have cell phones to keep in touch. And their daddy's loved them and showed me what it was like. I'm sure we all didn't appreciate it back then, I know they didn't. But I appreciated the curfews, the concern. I know my Dad would have done that if he had been there. My mom did a good job. A very good job. But it wasn't the same, having both of them there. I stayed out of trouble, though.
I remember graduation night we rode 4 wheelers, listened to music, danced some, drank some, mostly just spent time together talking about our years together growing up. Rehashing football stories, who dated who, school stories and dreams. It was the last time our class was really together before we all went our separate ways. It was fun. Super fun.
My wishes for all the graduates out there is that they take a minute to soak it all in and remember that they don't have to know it all, have it all planned out and figured out. Yes. A plan is good. But it's just a plan. And sometimes in all the planning you forget to enjoy the here and now. There's a lot of joy in the here and now. It soon becomes the past that you build on. It's FREEDOM in a way you will never know again.