Monday, December 21, 2009

May her song always be sung

Watching from my perch high up on the sides of Auburn University’s Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum as 1,509 graduates made their way to the stage at Friday’s graduation ceremonies, I could always tell which black-robed graduate was our Mary Claire Walburn, class of 2009.

That’s because of the yellow square and blue peace sign she had affixed to the top of her mortarboard. Plus, she was sitting then standing next to friend and fellow BA in Business in Supply Chain Management graduate James, who had written MOM in yellow electrical tape on top of his headgear, in honor of his mother’s birthday.

Now, every one of the graduates likely stood out just as much to their parents and grandparents, as we all leaned down to catch a glimpse and hear our graduates’ names called during the two-hour ceremony. Despite the “shout outs” which I found somewhat annoying and often drowned out the next graduate’s name, the ceremony was intended to give every graduate a moment in the spotlight.

But Mary Claire with a peace sign on her head was a fitting image as I watched my only daughter graduate where her parents graduated about 30 years ago.

Mary Claire, who identified herself as a rock-n-roll girl since she was 5 and who had to be talked out of naming one of our dogs Rainbow instead of Henry, enters the adult and post-college world with the same enthusiasm, uniqueness and well-rounded openness.

Her mother’s daughter, she loves music and cool things and never had to change much to dress up as a “hippie” for Halloween. Thus, the peace sign seemed a logical symbol (any politics aside) as she and James planned their top-of-mortarboard statements.

We all made homemade cards for Mary Claire to give to her at graduation, her brother Will scanning in a photo of her as a baby with her big brother, her daddy Frank posting then and now Auburn tailgate pictures, and mine being the photo of a 4-year-old Mary Claire with the Auburn Eagle, and one of us fishing together when she was a toddler.

In my note to our graduate, I used the Eagle symbolism to encourage her to fly like an Eagle. I praised my smart, beautiful, kind, caring, funny and fun daughter who has faced her challenges with smiles, faith and determination.

And, as expected, I quoted Bob Dylan’s Forever Young, a song he wrote for one of his children and a Dylan poem-song which expresses better than I can the hopes I have for our children.

“May God bless and keep you always, May your wishes all come true,

May you always do for others And let others do for you.

May you build a ladder to the stars And climb on every rung,

May you stay forever young, Forever young, forever young,

May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous, May you grow up to be true,

May you always know the truth And see the lights surrounding you.

May you always be courageous, Stand upright and be strong,

May you stay forever young, Forever young, forever young,

May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy, May your feet always be swift,

May you have a strong foundation When the winds of changes shift.

May your heart always be joyful, May your song always be sung,

May you stay forever young, Forever young, forever young,

May you stay forever young.”

We can’t keep our children forever young, I know, but we can, and I think we should, continue to ask for God’s blessings on them as they become men and women from boys and girls.

We can hope we’ve nurtured them and taught them to do for others, to be courageous, righteous, strong, upright, true and joyful – characteristics which will serve anyone well through life’s journey.

For Mary Claire, finding a job in the logistics, transportation, purchasing, or process management fields that encompass her Supply Chain Management major is the next challenge.

And, I know Mary Claire will tackle this next step in the same determined, thorough and smiling way she has shown in facing life’s next-steps since she completed our family 23 years ago.

Happy graduation Mary Claire -- our beautiful, smart, sweet and caring rock-n-roll girl.

Picture of the day: Mary Claire Walburn, Dec. 18, 2009

Song of the day: Forever Young, Bob Dylan

1 comment:

  1. Love your posts. Why am I not surprised that Dylan shows up in them?