We were not originally planning on having an at-home graduation ceremony. Yes, we homeschool, but through high school we’ve participated in Providence Extension Program taking math, science and elective classes, so we were all set on participating in their graduation ceremony. You see where this is going, don’t you?
About a month ago, Timothy announced to us that he wanted to apply to work at Young Life’s Frontier Ranch in Colorado for the first session which meant he had to BE in Colorado on the 20th, which just happened to be the date for PEP’s graduation. We agreed to let him apply but I proceeded as if he were still graduating with PEP in case he didn’t get in. So we bought the cap and gown and picked out the pictures for the slide show.
And then he got in.
Change of plans!
We decided to host a graduation ceremony/party at our house. It would be a small, personal affair and he would still wear his cap and gown. For me. Because I’m his mama and I said so. Harumph.We sent out a few invitations and emailed and texted a few more. I looked on Pinterest and got some decorating ideas. In the end it was perfect. So personal. So very special. We started with lunch. The menu was 3 types of pulled pork: BBQ, Mojo and Simple Spices; broccoli salad and coleslaw; chips and salsa (Denise’s famous homemade salsa).For dessert we had mortar board candies, diploma cookies and an ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins.After lunch, Timothy donned his cap and gown (over shorts, because this is Florida and we were outside) and he walked out to Pomp and Circumstance playing.Michael and I choked out a few words. We shared why we started homeschooling and our goals and mission statement for our school. Timothy has achieved them so we declared him graduated and he turned his tassel. Then Timothy made us cry with his little speech where he thanked us parents and those others who helped raise him. Then we opened the floor. His older brother, Tommy, started us off with laughter.
My brother, David, and his wife, Christina, shared a letter from their kids. She had her kids come up with 18 things they love about Timothy, and then David read a nice letter from the both of them. So sweet.Denise, who has been like a second mother to Timothy, shared about having him in her Sunday School class. Our families are close and we took many vacations together. Her daughter, Peyton, couldn’t be there but sent 10 tips for college which were funny and spot on! Uncle Eddie told stories about how Timothy liked to climb things as a little kid and how he’d figure he’d grow out of it. (Timothy enjoys rock climbing to this day. He never grew out of it!) His son, Joey, has been not only Timothy’s cousin, but his best friend through high school. His message was touching, describing Timothy as the brother he never had (he has two older sisters.) Uncle John and Aunt Tammy, who live in NC and couldn’t be with us, sent a wonderful note. Two of their kids sent notes as well. Precious!
Mary shared sweet memories about when we first moved to town. Prudence, our children’s minister, shared about how Timothy would squirm and wiggle in children’s church but how he was actually listening and learning. Lori, our neighbor (below), shared how she would watch out the kitchen window at Timothy picking through the pile of stuff the renters would leave out at the road. He loved to bring home old electronics and take them apart.
Jackie shared a very poignant story about having lunch with Timothy two years ago where she recorded three prayer requests he had made on a napkin and she still prays for him and has that napkin! She has promised to continue praying for him while he’s in college!
Lifelong friends and godparents, Ian and Caroline Stake, came as well (thank you Caroline for taking pictures with my camera!). Ian shared some great advice and scripture with Timothy. My mom shared how grateful she’s been to have been a part of Timothy’s life. Having friends who do not live near their grandkids, she doesn’t take that fact for granted!His small group leader and mentor shared about getting to know Timothy over the last four years. This precious family has an open-door policy and my kids often took advantage of it! John was an answer to our prayers as we prayed for a mentor for Timothy.
For the friends and family who could not attend, I asked them to write a note to Timothy. It could be a memory, or advice and then I read them aloud at the ceremony between other people’s testimonies. We were grateful for our pastor Bill Driscoll’s words.We were so blessed to be surrounded by neighbors, church friends, Timothy’s godparents, his mentor, his friends, our friends and of course, family.
As you can imagine, I’m super grateful for this day. Linking up with Simply Shaunacey.
Oh, and come back on Thursday when I’ll be sharing my simple decorations from our Homeschool Graduation Ceremony!