Sunday, May 30, 2010

5/17: At The Bottom Of The Ramp, Waiting For My Daughter

Monday, May 17, sometime between 8:00 and 8:15 pm, I was standing next to a stage in the athletic center of Valparaiso University, holding a bouquet of roses. My daughter Gigi was in a line on the other side of the stage, waiting her turn to cross the stage, shake hands with the chancellor of Purdue University North Central, and receive her bachelor's degree.

I had time for memories, fleeting impressions:
  • October 4th, 1988 - a shell-shocked afternoon, after the doctor told us that Suzanne's last non-stress test didn't look so good, and we needed to come in the next day to have labor induced.
  • October 5th - a blur, from getting up, to arriving at the hospital, to the start of labor, to the maternity nurse being 7 months pregnant herself, to the doctor dealing with us and another patient in labor, to the arrival.
  • October 6th - after a night in a cramped recliner, I went home to wash up and change. The fall sky and the turning leaves were more vibrant than I had ever seen before.
  • Gigi, at two years old, running to me across a playground with her arms held high to be picked up and hollering, "Hold you!"
  • Gigi, at seven, clinging to me and crying like she's never stopping after being told that her mom and I weren't going to be living together anymore (Nobody said all the memories were happy).
  • My pride in Gigi as her participation in high school show choir gave her a world of confidence and made her bloom.
  • Taking her, during a Christmas visit, to the empty parking lot at work and having her practice driving a car with a manual transmission.
And then she was coming across the stage, holding her newly minted degree, stopping at the top of the ramp for a picture, then coming down the ramp, approaching me. I handed her the roses, we hugged, and she whispered, "Thanks, Dad, I love you."

As I walked back to the stands, my ex-wife gave me a thumbs up. My wife gave me a knowing smile, and she was entitled. I bought the flowers and gave them to Gigi, but they were Lisa's idea.

Gigi kiddo, congratulations. We love you.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Somebody please pass the Kleenex. What a great post. I felt like I was right there with you. Love you!