Guess what I did last Saturday?!
I graduated! From college! With honors Cum Laude!
It was definitely amongst one of the happiest days of my life. (Though, to be fair, this whole summer has been made up of those sorts of days.)
I’m not much of a crier, but I admittedly cried happy tears throughout my graduation celebrations.
The first tears came right after I had received my diploma and sat back down to hear final words from our commencement speakers. The speaker asked parents and spouses of graduates to stand up, and my parents and spouse did so. So I was already getting a little misty-eyed when the speaker proceeded to ask all family members of those graduating to stand. My family and friends were scattered all over the auditorium, but my husband did manage to wrangle up his family and my dad’s side into one area. I was completely overcome by emotions when the majority of one entire row stood up in honor of me. That row consisted of my family, both those I was lucky enough to be born and married into. This was only one of the many moments throughout the day where I was overwhelmed by the near tangible pride and love shown to me by my big, crazy, amazing tribe.
Many more tears came at my graduation party, which my parents sweetly offered to throw for me at their house. They, in true Cirotto fashion, definitely went all out. It was complete with a mimosa bar, pounds upon pounds of Rudy’s BBQ, a full dessert bar, a giant collage of yours truly, a professional photographer (aka my grandma) and plenty of presents from all of the wonderful peeps that I am so lucky to have spoil me. Mid-party, my aunt asked me to open a gift from her and my grandma. She informed me that my parents had also helped out a lot. Er, I was rather curious. I opened it up to find a DVD, with a picture of me on the cover. Near the top were the words, “Our Beautiful Christina.” Playing on this DVD were pictures of my life from infancy to the present, and in the background were both my favorite songs and songs that made my family think of me. My daddy, whom, in my entire lifetime, I’ve seen get teary only one other time (During our father-daughter dance at my wedding.), was very noticeably crying. My mom was weepy. Friends and family were teary. Many were crying just seeing my seemingly emotionless, usually stoic dad cry. Needless to say, I was crying. There weren’t many dry eyes in the Cirotto household as that DVD played.
I may post that video one day, but for now I thought I’d just recount part of the heartwarming note displayed at the end.
“Christina, it has been so awesome watching you grow up through the years. God created in you such a beautiful person. You’re intelligent, witty, vivacious, strong, compassionate, and have this beautiful quirkiness that draws people to you. You have turned your fears into strengths and you’re living life to the fullest. Just like the song says, we believe you were born to fly…”
It’s hard not to tear up just in recounting the day. How blessed am I to be surrounded by so many who care about me so deeply? To have family and friends who go out of their way just to tell me how proud they are of me? To be so loved that a a house becomes full in celebration of me and A DVD of my entire life to date is presented? I may be a first-generation college student, but like they say, it takes an army. It just so happens that my army consists of friends and a husband and in-laws and aunts and uncles and cousins and brothers and a sister and grandmas and a grandpa and a great-grandma and plenty of etceteras. My army is made up of the people who love me with their whole heart, and who I whole-heartedly get to love right back. And my army, whooping and hollering from rows of the auditorium, is compiled of loved ones who have given me the confidence to be the one receiving the diploma on that stage. Their encouragement over the years has made me into who I am and has given me the strength to fulfill big dreams. It takes an army, and mine was there to celebrate our accomplishment with lots of mimosas, desserts, sweet words and happy tears. This here college graduate couldn’t ask for anything more.
“How do you wait for heaven? And who has that much time? And how do you keep your feet on the ground when you know that you were born, you were born to fly?”