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Phoebe Fledges

Sunday, May 25, 2014

It was the most perfect May day. As if the heavens looked down on a bunch of sweet kids and their families and said, "Let's do this right."

I got up early and went for a bird-counting run. Though it was only four miles and change, I had 62 species by the time I got back. 68 for the entire day. Imagine that, hearing and seeing so many birds without really trying. Just noticing. There are so many birds here where I live. It's one of the things I love most about living here, the chorus of voices all around me. And knowing where they all live, and going to see them.

Chet Baker and I sat at the old farm we love to visit, worked on our base tans, and gathered our energy for the huge day ahead. Phoebe's graduation ceremony was to start at 1 pm. It was the best way to start the day, to move fast and blow some carbon out of my pipes; to think, write, listen, notice. For this is a day I've had to work up to. 

Phoebe, as Valedictorian of her class, got up and gave a speech right off the bat. She made music the central theme, and she spoke of the songs she and her classmates heard and sang, and of the many kinds of music they all made together as friends and teammates. 

Her voice was clear, her diction was perfect, the speech was lovely, and she let Bill and me have absolutely nothing to do with it in the days leading up to its delivery. Same deal with the essay that helped her get into Bowdoin and four other colleges. And that, I realize, is as it should be. Even if we wanted to be  helicopter parents, she wouldn't let us.

She's a redhead. 
She'll do it herself.

Waiting with the other "T's" for her name to be called.

She read half the class's names. It must have been wonderful to read her dear friends' names, to call them up to the dias to get their diplomas. She looked like she was savoring every moment.
Somehow I don't think she'll have any trouble with public speaking going forward. The bigger the crowd, the better she does. It's an irony I've come to know well.

Here comes a medal.

There's the diploma.

Child had a lot of bling on by the end of the ceremony. The pale blue stole is National Honor Society. The cords are Spanish Honor Society. There are two medals, one for International Thespians, and the other for Class Valedictorian.

Our dear friend Matt gave the closing remarks. He was grateful. Grateful people are my favorites of all. His voice gave out on him as he wrapped up his appreciation of the school's wonderful principal, who is leaving. "Mrs. Rauch, thanks...for...(long pause)... everything."

It was the perfect ending...soulful and sweet and sincere.

Then our other beloved Matthew led the new graduates in his trademark pep rally Roller Coaster.

That boy can get 'em whipped up like nobody's business. Love our Matthew.

HAT TOSS!!! Note tall redhead, far right. She had written her name in her hat so she could find it again, and she did.

Graduating felt like this:

 and this:

and this.

Because there is way too much beauty and joy and sweetness for one post, and it is in danger of leaking out of your computer screen and ruining something, I'm going to stop now. It's very late, going for midnight, and it's been a big, big day. More to come on Tuesday.

Big, happy sigh. I didn't cry. Much. I was too happy, and grateful.


What a joy that must have been to behold! And, what a beautiful, kind spirit you've nurtured out into the world. Can't wait to see where life takes her. XO

JZ--you already know this, but here's a mom talking to you who is several decades beyond these moments.
SAVOR THEM. Squeeze every bitty drop out of this. And bottle it. Then occasionally, you can open that bottle, take a good whiff and remember.
All your birds will fledge. It's what you want them to do. But some days when you are in that nest where they grew, your eyes will grow a tad misty and you will recall these sweet sweet moments.
From another Momma bird, this one named Donna

What Donna said. Sniffle.

" danger of leaking out of your computer screen and ruining something"

The only thing this could possibly ruin is my general curmudgeonliness at listening to Sunday wrap-ups of the week's news...

and OMG, have I not been paying attention, or is this the lst you've even mentioned that Phoebe was to be Valedictorian!?... I feel so proud even knowing of her only vicariously.
CONGRATS & best wishes to Phoebe and the entire Thompson family.

I know how proud you must be of your lovely, accomplished daughter! I have enjoyed watching her grow up via your blog and I wish her all the best on this new journey in her life. Congratulations to Phoebe, and to you and your husband.

Thanks for sharing a beautiful post on such an awesome child. You done good.

Congrats to Phoebe and to mom and dad, too, for you have graduated as well. What Donna said with the addition that there is nothing to fear about the empty nest. Like your other fledglings you have raised, they come back and the joy of seeing them fly back and forth creating their own nest is just as sweet.

Made me cry...

Congratulations to the wonderfully accomplished graduate and her fantastic parents! She lights up the screen and our hearts. Fly far and high beautiful bird; we delight in your song.

What a wonderful day for all of you!

Posted by Patti Carpenter Cooter May 25, 2014 at 10:23 PM

What a perfect day for a sweet celebration of achievement! I know how happy snd proud you and Bill must be.
Congratulations Miss Phoebe on your amazing accomplishments !

What a beautiful day! These are the days of our lives...

Posted by DallasD May 26, 2014 at 6:54 AM

Yes, Phoebe fledges, beautifully and gracefully, on her spectacular wings of the future. Congratulations all around.

Okay, I have to say this: Chet led this post! Oh Chet dear. You are the one who will never fledge. You will provide much comfort and company to your Mether once Phoebe flies off to Maine. Liam as well, when he's around. :-) Congrats to Phoebe. Such a picture perfect graduation. And valedictorian! Do you think you'd let your Mom post your speech? Here's to an infinite number of beautiful moments in your life, and your family's life. Take a bow! All your smarts and hard work paid off.


Beautifully written and adorned with glorious pictures of Phoebe (and Chet). Thank you for letting us celebrate this wonderful milestone with you and your family. Very clever of you to knock out an early morning run with your beloved... Congratulations all around!

Oh my. Huge congratulations!! How did you not cry...much? I sob at other people's graduations! My middle is graduating from 8th grade in a couple of weeks (from a Blue Ribbon brick and mortar charter Pa School to Watch which she has attended since kindergarten) and I am going to sog like a fire hydrant! Any tips?! Her future is so bright she's gotta wear sunglasses!

Congrats Phoebe!! I know you will soar!
Lynda in Michigan

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