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Graduation brings back memories

My husband’s cousin is graduating from high school this year – valedictorian of his class. My second cousin is graduating, too. Our preacher’s daughter has already graduated, in a special commencement ceremony with her homeschool group. Students across the region, across the state, across the nation – and for all I know, across the world – are choosing their outfits, preparing their speeches and practicing turning their tassels for that all-important moment that signals another step into adulthood.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this season brings back a flood of memories every year.

Every class has a signature “thing” – an inside joke, a special tradition – and every friend-group has unique “things” too. These are the unique characteristics that memories are made of.

For example, every student in my senior class – except the party poopers, I suppose – palmed a Hot Wheels car into our principal’s grasp as we shook his hand on receiving our diplomas.

To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what the joke was on that one. I don’t know if he was a collector or what. But I still participated, and I will always have the memory. That was the White County High School Class of 2008’s “thing.”

My friend group spent the day together before graduating that night. We watched Spiderman 1 and 2 at my house before heading to the movie theater to catch Spiderman 3. We topped off the day-long celebration with an early dinner at Taco Bell.

We never took a big trip together or planned a large-scale celebration, but we had our simple time together watching movies and eating cheap tacos. That humble day of being together before our lives went different directions will stay in my mind forever.

To this year’s graduating seniors: you will have your own things, your own memories. And if you’re lucky, each year in May as the next class of students starts to make their way into life-after-high-school, those memories will come swimming to the surface of your mind once again, bringing you a little nostalgic joy.

Treasure these times. Good things await you in the future, but this particular moment will never come again – except in your memories in years to come.