As many of you already know, we had a senior this year. Strike that, we actually had three graduations this year: Olivia graduated from Oakland University, Magna Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts; Christopher graduated from Leland High School; and Maggie reminded us that she, too, graduated this year… from Elementary to Middle School at Lake Leelanau St. Mary’s. All kinds of accomplishments this year in the Ursu household.
At these particular milestones, I find myself reminiscing more than usual, which really says a lot as I tend to be fairly nostalgic and sentimental. I remember the “old people” of my youth telling me that time flies, and before you know it, those kids whom you were just pushing around in a stroller will be out of the house and starting their own lives. Never before did I believe such preposterous notions. The days of shoelace tying and diaper changing seemed to drag on (maybe because the span between oldest and youngest is 16 years).
As we arranged the photos and picture board for Christopher’s graduation party, I was reminded of how quickly the time had passed. It seemed surreal to me that in a few short months he would pack his bag and enter a new phase of his life studying business at the University of Michigan. How can that be? He was an active 5-year-old when I started Intentional Wealth, and now he’s leaving?
Having a child who graduates from high school in a small community means that all of his friends are having graduation parties as well. Last weekend we were privileged to attend 10 of them (11 if you count his). I know that this is a season of life, and I enjoy visiting with these young adults, learning of their plans, and congratulating them on the fine young people that they have become. Maybe we are blessed to only know amazing young people, but every one of them is a fine person whom I am confident will do great things as he pushes away from the orbit he has known for so long. In the graduates’ eyes I can see hope and just enough fear and concern to keep them safe. It is like talking to an astronaut who is just about ready to enter his space capsule. He has trained his whole life for this and is well prepared. He doesn’t know what is out there, but he knows it will be life changing. Like the astronaut who trusts her flight crew, medical experts, aeronautical engineers, and ground crew, she moves forward with confidence and wonder. These young people also have faith in everyone who has helped prepare them: parents, coaches, teachers, siblings, and their peers.
After stopping by the pulled pork on the food table, I made my way over to the photo board to peek into the private lives and intimate moments of a family that made this person into who he is. A skinny young boy stands in a sagging diaper, wearing only cowboy boots and a red cowboy hat, staring down the camera as if it were a gunslinger in the wild west. A precious girl gazes out from the photo from the comfort of her toilet, baring no shame, only love for her mom taking the picture. Another wears her T-ball uniform with pride, taking a mere moment to pose for the camera. These photos communicate so much of what went into the making of a person who is ready to launch. When I compare all of these photos with the persons standing next to the table, I am struck with awe of the trajectory that they are on and excited for the endless possibilities that await them.
When they were born, “face” and “book” were two words that only went together when referencing a reader, seeing the person you are talking to was a privilege reserved for Dick Tracy, “You” and “Tube” were two other words that had no context with each other, and smart phones had not been invented. So much of our world is new, and the opportunities that these graduates will create for themselves most likely don’t exist right now.
This generation adopted technology as if it were another appendage. Most times it seems like it, too. They are unafraid and not at all intimidated by the role that technology will play in our lives. We need people like them, and if you haven’t already done so, may I be so bold as to suggest that you need to make friends with a few of these people for what we will be facing in the future? It will make setting the clock on the VCR seem like cranking the engine on your Model T.
Life is a blur; it moves so quickly. If you think about it, take some time this summer to learn about the future plans of a young person in your orbit, wish her well, and encourage her like your future depends on it.