Sunday, June 12, 2005

Shelagh Graduates!

Shelagh Och, Diploma in Hand
Leland School graduated 28 great kids last Friday. I was so proud of all of them. Shelagh was the valedictorian. Valedictorian in a class of 28 is one thing; She was also chosen as one of 10 students statewide for the Academic All State Team.

She wrote a nice speech, finishing it the night before, much to the consternation of the principal and superintendent, who wanted to approve it in advance. But Liz had to check it out before they did, smoothing out the rough parts and adding drama to what she termed "a lame ending".

Shelagh delivered her speech with all the poise and confidence in the world. She also sang "For Good", a beautiful song from the musical "Wicked" with Allison Palmer and Anna Pentiuk. It's a pretty song that I don't get tired of hearing, with its wordplay lyrics: "I don't know if I've been changed for the better. Because I knew you, I've been changed for good."

Richard and I got to see all of this despite walking out the door to go to graduation and finding we had NO car keys. They were, all three sets of van keys and one key to the Horizon, in Shelagh's purse, already at school. I have been stuck in the same situation at least four times already this year, ready to leave for work, the car is in the driveway, but I have no keys. Richard and I just look at each other and say "She IS moving out, right?" (Shelagh is going to the University of Michigan this fall.)

After the ceremony, everyone stopped to congratulate us and tell us how great our daughter was. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and just blurted out, "Well, you don't have to LIVE with her." But I'm glad her public face is so together, even if she saves her falling apart moments for home. You wouldn't want a kid to be running amuck in public because they were afraid to do so at home.

Shelagh and Her Parents

The only picture of the three of us and Richard is sticking out his tongue! I worried about this at first, but then I just figured "He is what he is," and posted it anyway.

People keep asking me why our kids are so smart and I answer, only half in jest, that it's because they hear so much arguing at home. They definitely learn to listen to more than one point of view and to be comfortable defending their own opinions.

In second grade Liz's class started playing the "boys chase the girls" game on the playground. At Leland School, when that game gets out of hand, both the girls and the boys get sent to the principal's office. Some of Liz's friends were devastated to be scolded by the principal (Mike Hartigan, back then.) But Liz came home disgusted with her classmates. "I don't see what the big deal is," she said. "Dad hollers worse than that guy."

In this photo, Shelagh is wearing two leis sent to her from Hawaii by my Uncle Bryan. The orange one is called a cigar lei and the purple and white one is stacked orchids.

With Grandma Jane and Grampa Pete

Several friends commented on how much fun it was to meet both sets of grandparents and how lucky we were that they were all alive and well enough to travel. I didn't get a picture of Shelagh with Richard's folks; they seemed to disappear immediately following the ceremony. Later they told us that Grama Alice's Parkinson's disease started acting up as they left the gym. When it hits her she loses touch with her legs; she trys to walk but her legs just won't move. She is stuck in one place, frustrated, muttering "Come on, let's go already!"

But she doesn't let it get her down. When she got moving again they went straight to their car then down to Dick's Pour House, Grampa Ron's favorite local bar, and enjoyed a cold beer on a hot evening.

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