Our oldest granddaughter 2.1 graduated from her program on Friday. Without going into all the details, 2.1 has had a difficult challenging number of years as have had her parents. It culminated with a decision about a year ago to enroll her in a boarding school program for parents and children that feel they've run out of options in how they are going to deal with their relationship and fear for how the future is going to turn out. It is a program with tight discipline, a real focus on academics and a lot...a lot of therapy required by both the child and the parents.
With the program being in Arizona and daughter #2 being in Hong Kong it was very difficult for #2 and 2B to visit with 2.1 or have 2.1 come to them as was part of the whole program design. So as the closest relatives (we're about 6.5 hours away), we were asked to fill in the role a few times. It was kind of hard on our part because we were not really in the loop with all the hard therapeutic work and counseling going on. So you kind of felt like a fish out of water. But we did our best.
This held true for this graduation ceremony. I don't know what Wife and I expected but it turned out to be far more emotional than I expected. 2.1 has come such a long way. But she'll still have much more to do now that she's grabbed (I use that word because it is clear that the students in this program have to decide that they are the ones that are going to take charge of their lives) the tools she needs to succeed.
I had to read my daughter's statement and I had hard time doing so and not breaking up. That was true of just about every parent who talked. The same was true for the girls who had their opportunity to speak. I was totally amazed at our granddaughter giving her talk with no notes, looking directly at the audience, and with real poise and feeling.
Then we had to rush her to Phoenix so she could catch a plane the next morning very early to go to Hong Kong where she will spend the summer after which she will go off to a new school in Michigan. A lot of change for a 17 year old. We spent the evening cuddling with her and hung out in the airport for as long as we could with her. It was very emotional.
Then we went drove home to Albuquerque. It was a long couple of days but as grandparents who are physically far removed from our families you don't often get the opportunity to participate in their lives in a meaningful way.