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Southern Eyes

It may be spring to the rest of us, but it's more like fall to one local gentleman.

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to School Superintendent Mark Petersen, who told me "this is my favorite time of year." I thought it was because school was about to be out, but I was mistaken. It's because of graduation. Dr. Petersen said that graduation is when he gets to see the harvest of everything that the entire school system does all year long. Although the commencement exercise was a few days away, he was already filled with excitement and pride at the anticipation of it.

At the ceremony, it seemed every inch of the Brickyard was filled with that same excitement and pride. My favorite part is the processional. Seeing the looks on each graduate's face as they ended/began their "journey," was just plain and simple sentimental fun. I had the vantage point of sitting amongst those students' teachers, and hearing their comments was priceless. The students should be proud of those teachers, who actually had the knack of making a comment at the appropriate volume without moving their lips. It was as if they'd spent every day of their lives sitting in a classroom.

But the Brickyard ceremony didn't compare to the one I attended the previous Saturday when my own son marched in the CSRA Home Education Association commencement exercise. Talk about sentimental " I was definitely on a roller coaster and there was no amusement park in sight.

During the rehearsal dinner on Friday, the parents read a previously-written "final" letter to their child who is about to leave the nest. It seems like there's been so much tug-of-war going on lately between James and me, that the trip down memory lane came at the opportune time. One thing not mentioned in the letter, but I thought of later was when James was five years old and received his first colored belt in karate. To earn it, he had to break a small board with his hand. I'll never forget his expression of unbelief changing to a stifled smile of accomplishment when the broken pieces of wood fell off the block stand.

As he goes on now to find his niche in life, I know that all the "wood" he faces may not break so easily the first time. Life just isn't that fair. But my little boy is much bigger now, with the broad shoulders to handle life's biggest burdens.

And based on what I've seen as his mother, I know that he'll always be stifling a smile in the end.

Web posted on Thursday, May 29, 2008

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