Friday, June 12, 2009

Very proud Dad/Papa

Two daughters graduated last week. I'm very proud of them both, though for different reasons.

Kasia graduated magna cum laude and got a full, free-ride scholarship to St. John's University (which is in New York) as a participant in their honors program. When you consider the family turmoil that she's been having to survive throughout her high school career, an already impressive achievement becomes pretty jaw-dropping, I think you'd have to admit.

I tried to take pictures but the zoom feature on my BlackBerry camera app chose graduation night to stop working. It took me a while even to find Kasia among the several hundred graduates...I finally did it by figuring out what number she was in line, and how many students were seated in each row, and then locating her seat -- which was directly behind a tall dude, and that's why I hadn't been able to spot her. So I got up and moved to a place where I could see her, and then I just watched her throughout the rest of the evening as she smiled, and high-fived friends, and sniffled, and at one point stopped right in the middle of the act of wiping tears from her eyes to cover her mouth for a prodigious yawn. And then of course there was the moment when Kasia handed the card with "Kasia Krystyna Pierce" written on it to the woman at the edge of the stage, who handed it to the guy who was reading the names, who opened his mouth, did a double-take, closed his mouth, leaned away from the mike towards Kasia, asked a question, got his answer, leaned back to the mike and said firmly, "KAH-sha KrisTIna Pierce."

I still remember so vividly the first time I held her in my arms, when she was just a couple of minutes old. And I wish I could say I don't feel old enough to have a daughter graduating from high school; but then the truth is I've aged about fifteen years in the last four; so...yeah, actually, I do feel that old.

Anyway, congratulations, Kasia. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of you. I love you more than you can possibly know or I can possibly express.

Then there was Natasha, who has had her own challenges to overcome over the years, of course, and who I was afraid wasn't going to be allowed to walk the stage because -- get this -- she didn't have foreign language credits. Obviously everybody at the school knows she speaks fluent Russian, but the school doesn't offer Russian and doesn't have anybody who can officially certify that she knows Russian, and so they didn't know how to give her credit. But in the end I called our local state representative and said, "I am CERTAIN that the legislature's intent was not to force this kid to be TRI-lingual, and that there must be SOME way for the high school to give her credit while satisfying TEA regulations. If you could find out who at TEA knows how to do it and have them call the counselors and explain, I would be very grateful." Which they did, and so Natasha was given credit for having, thanks to some extremely hard work this year, satisfied Stafford High School's requirements for graduation.

And I'll tell you something, if you let one of my Kazakhstani kids walk across the graduation stage, then I'm gonna yell, "MOLODYÉTS! so loud that people on the other side of the auditorium turn their heads. I'm tellin' you, I know -- I've seen me do it.

Так, тебе тоже, Наташенька, поздравляю, и тебя очень, очень люблю.

Natasha on Friday, Kasia on all choked up twice in three days. Thank God graduation season is over for the year...

Hat Tip: to Ron White, from whom I shamelessly stole the line, "I know -- I've seen me do it," though I hasten to say in a very different context from the original.


At 12:24 AM, Blogger Jackietex said...

It is something to see our not-so-wee ones cross the stage. I haven't cried that hard in a long time. Congratulations to Kasia and Natasha!

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Ken Pierce said...

That's right, you had a daughter graduating, too, didn't you?

Please pass my congratulations and sincere admiration on to her. She's something pretty special.


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