Peggy, Week 13: Don’t Let Life’s Unexpected Surprises Steal Your Joy

I was thinking about the fact that life is full of surprises that turn into little storms you never expected. But you can’t let a few hail stones or a little rain keep you from enjoying it. I’m learning that lesson as we go through this 6-month challenge—some of these health habits are really tough to bring on. But I also learned this lesson earlier this year at my son’s graduation.

Michael’s graduation made the national news! He survived the Absegami 2012 graduation. All hail class of 2012!

All day long, the weatherman had been calling for rain, but they always call for rain. Graduation was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday night. (Graduation should ALWAYS be held on Saturday–or at least Friday night. Having graduations in the middle of the week and so early in the evening is very disrespectful to most families who have to work! It is difficult to try to get a day off, and 6 p.m.–with all of the parking issues, is just too early!…but I digress).

In order to park and get a good seat in the bleachers you have to arrive by 5 p.m., the latest. Luckily, Michael was on the home side.

Amanda was playing the flute with the band, and Michael was graduating, so Peter and I went early to save some seats for our parents.

The clouds rolled in around 5:30, but the sun was still shining as the kids walked onto the football field.

Everyone except for the valedictorian recognized the storm was brewing and sped through his or her speech or shorted it considerably. By the time they started to call the names, the clouds rolled in. This years graduating class had about 520 seniors. Since our last name begins with the letter “A”, Michael received his diploma earlier than most students.

I told my parents and my in-laws to meet us at the restaurant once Michael had received his diploma, because the clouds were definitely starting to roll in. Initially, they chose to stay; the teacher announcing the names must be given credit, he read through the names faster than you could imagine! By the time we reached the “D”’s lightning could be seen in the distance; the grandparents refused to leave.

By the time they began announcing the “M”’s, the band packed up and left the field, and our parents decided that they would wait for us at the bar of the restaurant. They switched teachers, and started to announce names at a quicker pace.  As we approached the “W”’s, it looked like we might make it off the field before the storm hit.  But then the kiss of death, Peter said,” ..as long as the Absegami banners blow in the direction away from us, we should be okay…” The words were still hanging in the air, when the banners switched direction.  The next student to receive his diploma looked over his shoulder, raised his hand and screamed, “I’m out of here!” and took off. The last ten kids names could not be heard over the storm.

The storm hit: Rain, hail and wind! It was crazy. Some people ran for their cars, others ran for the school.  The hail pounded everybody, causing bruises on a few people.  A family we did not know had a baby with them, so they got in our car once we reached it; their car was a mile away. Michael and his friends were drenched, but managed to find Amanda in the school amongst the chaos.

Since we arrived with the kids, they found our car, and we managed to get out of the school parking lot before the ambulances arrived. (Nobody was seriously injured.) We had to go home and change, because we were drenched.

The hailstorm was incredible. But we didn’t let a few little rain, keep you from enjoying the day.

Are you proud of a graduate this year? Post a comment and tell me who it is!