They assembled on the green on Thetford Hill for a group photo on Sunday evening in blue and white robes (according to their taste), then went into the church two by two.
The program of events had Hyla giving her speech right after the processional, so up she went and hushed the crowd with her words. As her parents, we can’t help but be a little biased, but we thought it was a beautiful speech.
I didn’t cry then, not much anyway. In fact, I almost felt a little numb: very still, very quiet inside, just absorbing the moment and the room, the dull grey light of the drizzly June evening somehow turning gold as it came through the large windows, the words of our daughter spinning out across the hall, from her brain to her lungs to her larynx to her mouth to our ears to our brains to our memories.
You know when I cried? It was when members of the school band got up and played The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Not so much for the meaning of the song itself (isn’t it a wedding song?), but because, as songs do, it acted as a worm hole that sucked me back through time to my own childhood, to a moment when I put that very record on my record player.
How did we get from childhood me, alone in a house in the western suburbs of Chicago, to an old wooden church on a hill in Thetford, Vermont, watching our seventeen-year-old daughter confidently take the podium in front of her entire class, her teachers, her friends, her parents? How did all of this happen so slowly and so quickly? How do I have my childhood and hers in my memories all at once?
We were sitting in the church where her preschool still is, kitty corner from her elementary school, a short walk from her middle and high school. Time and geography and memory felt so tightly bound up in those moments last night. The past, the present, and the future. How it was. How it is. How it will be.
Splendid is how it was. Splendid is how it is. Splendid is how it will be.
p.s. If you’re interested, you can hear a recording of Hyla’s speech, or read it. And, here also, is the Baccalaureate speech given by Kelly Welsh, one of H’s favorite teachers.
Congratulations! A big milestone and a proud moment.
Rebecca. Hyla is a wonderful reflection on you and Michael. Breath and enjoy the summer then be ready for your and Michael to make some changes.
Thank you so much, Ann!
OK I should proof read- I meant you and Michael.
It looks like you have reason to be proud. 🙂 Where does the time go? I wonder if the years appear to breeze by more quickly for people with or without children. Those years sure seem to fly by in my mind, but you have all of Hyla’s milestones acting as markers of time. I didn’t know you grew up outside of Chicago? In which western suburb did you live? My parents grew up in Chicago, I was born there, spent my early childhood there, and returned again in my early 20s.
It looks like it was a beautiful evening. Best wishes to all three of you. It sounds like your daughter is a wonderful young woman with lots of promise ahead of her! Mazel tov!