I started the day with nerves. Y'know, all the stereotypical stuff - butterflies in my stomach, feeling a bit dizzy - along with some weird things, like my hands hurt. Maybe I fell asleep clenching them. I dunno.
Anyway, my hands started to feel better as the day went on, but my stomach grew more and more upset. A few of the other graduates and I went earlier to the ceremony rehearsal so we could get in some practice for the song we would be performing, where I found out I couldn't play my own guitar because it didn't have a jack, but another graduate offered to let me use his and it was all good again. As we rehearsed, I was reminded about how intimidating stages and audiences and microphones - oh, especially microphones - could be. But we made it through without too much trouble.
The rehearsal for the ceremony was a lot easier; maybe because I wasn't in charge, or maybe because I was too preoccupied with not throwing up or fainting, or both, to care. I had to be reminded on several occasions to 'sit like a lady', which was a little embarrassing. Then we got tossed in a back room and were told to wait.
And wait, we did.
For a long time.
Then we got shepherded out to the lobby and paired off and sent to march down the middle. Boys in nice suits and fancy ties. Girls in nice dresses and fancy shoes. Me in a fancy dress and cowgirl boots.
Time slowed to a crawl as Riley gave a fantastic prayer, some other graduates performed a worship song, and Alex delivered an excellent speech, which was followed by John Stemburger's equally excellent speech. All the while I was fidgeting in my seat, waiting for my little gang to be called up. Boots tapping. Fingers alternately getting pinched in my capo and scrambling for my falling guitar pick.
Finally we were called up. Hannah went to her microphone. I tried to move mine closer to the guitar stand. Sarah sat down at the piano and started to play her solo. The guitar strap fell off as I tried to get it over my head. I was a full measure late to the song.
Otherwise, though, I think it went rather well. I didn't miss the chords I'd been struggling with. Hannah's fears proved unfounded as she nailed the vocals. Sarah did perfect, as always. And Josh - who was graduating with a different school and agreed to help me even when I gave him only a week's notice - made the song special by playing the solo.
The rest of the ceremony was a blur. I almost cried when my parents' recording played over the slideshow of pictures from my growing up. Mom cried unashamed.
And by the way, those of you future graduates who don't know already - they don't actually give you your diploma during the ceremony. I knew that - I really did, don't roll your eyes - but I thought I'd get some cool ribbon out of the deal. I got some flimsy black plastic stuff that comes from the dollar store.
So. Lessons learned. Don't clench your hands while you sleep. Practice a lot before you perform and show that microphone who's boss. Fake diplomas don't come with cool ribbon.
~Charli Rae |Job 39:19-25|