Many out-of-town guests had arrived. I'd been preparing for weeks for Caleb's graduation and it was finally here. In all actuality, though, this event was years in the making. Years of toil and work, homework battles, meetings with teachers, successes, failures, proud moments and some we'd like to forget. My emotions were a mixed bag of excitement, nervousness, pride and nostalgic reminiscence. We'd strived for so long toward this road marker in Caleb's life and yet arriving at this point only accentuated the reality that from this point forward, his path looks very different and that our family quite frankly will never be the same.
The first two weekends in June had been beautiful. Hot, really. But the day of Caleb's outdoor graduation was gusty, rainy and dark. My mood matched the weather. This was one of the most momentous events in Caleb's life and I was incredibly disappointed by the thought that his commencement and the outdoor party I'd planned afterward could be dampened by the elements.
Caleb, however, was anything but gloomy. He has a naturally cheery disposition, but it was obvious very early on that on this particular day, he was feeling especially happy. He was thrilled to have so many loved ones celebrate him.
He was scheduled to meet the rest of the graduates at the high school where they would be lined up for the ceremony and then bussed to Memorial Stadium for the graduation. Before he left, we gathered as a family to open cards and gifts.
Caleb's relatives were exceptionally generous. He also read every card out loud, including letters Jon and I had written him, which had me crying. Also emotional was the presentation of a quilt in his grandmother's honor. Grandma Hatch had intended to make a quilt for each of her grandsons for their graduation. She had the fabric set aside for Caleb, but she died before she could complete the quilt. Jen and Christopher used that fabric to make a beautiful gift for Caleb.
Christopher also made sure Caleb's tie was perfect.
We got some pictures with our graduate before he left us.
A short time later, we got seated at the stadium and watched dark clouds gather around us.
The band took out umbrellas and then later retreated to the stands on the opposite side of the field.
I prayed and prayed and prayed for a break in the rain and clouds.
Caleb's fan club:
Lakeland Hills, normally visible from this spot in the stadium was completely obscured by the weather. Oh my heart!
My nervous worry about the weather was interrupted by honking horns of the busses carrying the graduates. Navy blue graduation sleeves were waving out of every window. "Here they come!"was the chatter in the stands. My throat got tight.
So many busses. So much happy celebration coming from them. It seemed to take forever to get the graduates off the busses. I later asked Caleb if it was annoying to be stuck inside, but he said it was far too exciting to be the least bit annoyed. There's just something about being the guest of honor, I guess. Even if there are over 300 other guests of honor, too.
I spotted my boy right away! He was right near the front.
The sun miraculously appeared just over the stadium's field as Pomp and Circumstance welcomed the graduates. Was I really here watching my oldest child graduate from high school? Unbelievable.
He sat in the second row.
"Caleb Jonathan Hatch"
See that sun over the field with the black clouds behind the stadium? We got so lucky. Our own little weather miracle.
The graduation was lovely and I was particularly impressed that the entire ceremony was only about one hour long. The bright sun continued to shine solely on the graduates while they did the traditional cap toss in the middle of the field.
The weather held for some pictures afterward, too.
Look at that smile. So happy!
Our good friends, the Kunimuras, were so kind to let us host Caleb's graduation party in their magazine-worthy backyard. They also marinated and cooked all the meat and made mango salsa and lumpia. I made salads, potatoes, beans, cookies, cupcakes, krispie treats and put together a candy bar. The guests were well fed.
It was chilly, but considering wind gusts had blown over the canopies we had set up earlier in the day, I couldn't complain about the weather during the party. It remained dry throughout.
Caleb posed for pictures with some of his party guests.
Jon put together this fun slide show to show at the party:
"That was the best graduation party I've ever been to, " remarked Cousin Ansel. Yes, it turned out to be a really great day, indeed.
Congratulations, Caleb! You've turned out pretty great, too.