Last official day of high school. Kylie, I am so proud of you. Not only for your academic and athletic achievements, but for the choices you have made and the young lady you are. You are beautiful inside and out.
I also wanted to give a quick shout out to Kylie’s friends and their parents. A parent could not ask for a better group of friends than what Kylie has and that is in part to their parents, who raised them the right way.
Kylie, we have given you wings and you have flown. Now it is time for you to soar on your own in a whole new world, but I will always, always , be here for you.
From the time she could talk she was full of questions. And I, of course, was full of answers.
Why this, why that, where, when and who?
But as children often do, my daughter grew and grew and her questions became more elaborate.
Where are we going dad?
Dad, what will we do when we get to nowhere?
Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Yeah, dad, I love going to nowhere with you and doing absolutely nothing. But I wonder, if we go nowhere and do nothing, does that make me a nobody?
Her questions were very deep so I thought for a second and told her she would never be a nobody. She is loved and cherished and will always be a somebody to me.
If I keep going south will I eventually be north?
As children often do, she grew and grew and her questions became more challenging.
Dad, if we get lost going to nowhere, will we end up somewhere? And when we get to somewhere, will we do something? But I wonder, if we go somewhere and do something, will I then be somebody?
Dad, can we get from here to there without going anywhere? And if we find anywhere, can we go there anytime? But I wonder, if we go anywhere anytime will I still be anybody to you?
If I ever find myself stuck between here and there and can’t find my way to you, will you come looking for me?
I couldn’t understand why her thoughts were taking her to these places but the only thing I could do was put my arms around her and reassure her no matter where she is or what time it is or what I am doing, I will always come and find her when she needed me.
But if I don’t tell you I need you, how will you know?
I will always pray that I will know but if for some reason I don’t know, I know a father who loves you more than even I do who will always be there for you even if I, for some inexplicable reason, get lost and am a little late in getting there.
Thanks dad, but what if I meant to go nowhere but ended up somewhere doing everything I know I shouldn’t do, would you still love me then? Would you go everywhere and do something, anything, to bring me back to someplace where you always are?
Not a doubt in mind that I would go everywhere and do something, anything, anytime to bring you back to nowhere so we could do nothing.
If the sun sets in the west will it always be dark the more west I go?
Just remember, dear daughter, no matter how many steps you take into the darkness, it only takes one to turn around and see the light.
If I’m doing nothing am I really doing something and can I be doing something but actually be doing nothing?
As children often do, my daughter grew and grew. As she grew it was my arms that became empty, as she no longer wanted me to hold her and it was my heart that shattered to pieces, as it seemed she longer wanted it to beat for her.
I would knock on her door and ask, “Would you like to go nowhere today and do nothing?” To which she would just sigh and say “Dad, I’m not a little girl anymore.”
I would give her some time and distance and then I would knock on her door and ask, “Would you like to go somewhere sometime today and do something?”
To which she would reply, “Dad, I’m busy doing other things today.”
But I could tell something was going on, but I didn’t want to seem pushy, but I knew she needed me.
I gave her more time and more distance, even though it was killing me to see her so sad.
One day I knocked on her door and said, “My daughter, when you find yourself nowhere doing nothing and wanting to go somewhere to be somebody but you can’t seem to go anywhere any of the time remember I love you everywhere every second of every day simply because you are you and that’s enough.”
She gave me a sad smile and a thanks dad.
Then I heard a voice telling me time and distance isn’t what she needs, she needs closeness and love even though it isn’t what she says.
I went and I knocked on her door and she was crying. I sat beside her and wrapped my arms around her and let her cry. After a few minutes and a very wet shirt later, she calmed down and looked up at me and I looked into those beautiful brown eyes as she asked me a question I had been wanting to hear for so long.
“Dad, do you think we could go nowhere?”
I smiled and asked, “Daughter, what will we do when we get there?”
Then she smiled back and said, “I was thinking we would do nothing dad, absolutely nothing.”
“Daughter, there is no place I would rather be than nowhere doing absolutely nothing with you.”
Kylie and I were driving to Florida for spring break and while she was driving, I looked at her and these words started pouring into my mind.
Yes, these kids have had good times and lots of good memories, but these kids have had to deal with more than any kid should have to deal with. According to National Institute Of Mental Health, 31.9% of teenagers this year have some sort of anxiety disorder (38% female, 26.1% male).
Talk to your children. Plant the seeds that you are there for them and they are not alone. They may resist, but the seeds will be sown.
Graduation day, closing out our senior year
I try to smile but can’t help to shed some tears
We had good times but I remember those not here
There’s Jenny who was bullied in 7th grade
Took her life the very next day
Tom and Sarah who didn’t believe they had something to say
8th grade was the last time they were alive
9th grade was Julie who thought it was better to die
Than live through the rumors of her having sex that Friday night
Corbin died of COVID, cancer took Brandon home
That was in 10th and for awhile I felt isolated and alone
I started to wonder if anyone is truly ever known
Then 2021 we went back to school but then there was a school shooting then another
In a school a few miles away, I lost five friends who ran but didn’t make cover
There are things you can heal from and then there are things you can’t recover
Those two years took a lot from me, I kept silent when I had words to say
Some days I felt alive, others I didn’t want to stay awake
Then eight weeks ago a drunk driver didn’t hit the brakes
Killed my best friend and her family driving on one last family trip
I’m mad, sad, confused, losing my grip
A valedictorian should show leadership
But I’m standing in front of the crowd
It’s so quiet, won’t anyone make a sound ?
My tears start to come and my heart pounds
I try to gather myself because that’s what I’m expected to do
And I think can anyone else see what I’m going through
Do they know how much this hurts losing them, losing you ?
It was one last trip to the beach
Friends forever, you and me
Roommates at Ohio University
I look out again at the crowd and step away
I can’t do this today, or any day
I scream to release the pain
It was supposed to be you and me
The best of the best of the class of ‘23
You are a part of me, you’ll never be only a memory
He was rolling down the mountain faster than he had ever gone. He could not believe how fast he was going. He tried to slow down, but he couldn’t figure out how. Once a pebble gets rolling, there is only one thing to stop him. He saw them in the distance but they were getting closer and closer the faster he went. There was no way to avoid the big, bad boulders so he just closed his eyes and
“Hey pebble, what do you think you are doing??!!” shouted the boulders. “Can’t you see how close to the edge we are? We have been balancing on this ledge for a very long time. We don’t need a little pebble like you messing our situation up.”
The pebble shook with fear. He had never seen boulders that big before. “I-I-I’m ssssorry. I didn’t mean to hit you but I was going so fast I couldn’t stop. Thank you for stopping me though. Do you think I could stay here?”
The boulders answered with a stern “NO!! We don’t need you here. You are not one of us and would mess our lives up with all your little talk.”
The pebble didn’t like their answer but went on his way. He tried to take it slower but with each downward slope and each breath of wind that blew he didn’t have much choice. He was so small he went wherever the wind blew him. Most days he didn’t mind, every day was an adventure. He never knew where he would end up. Other days, he just wanted to stop and fit in somewhere. He wanted someone to like him, for him to be a part of something bigger than himself.
A big gust of wind started to blow and off the pebble went again. He was going so fast he would hit the ground then bounce up in the air. He felt like he was flying. “This must be how the birds feel,” he thought to himself.
Oh crap, more boulders ahead, the pebble screamed inside. “Look out boulders, I am coming right at you. I can’t stop!!!” yelled the pebble.
Once again the pebble was met with disdain. “Get out of here pebble. We are way too powerful for you. Do you NOT realize that we can squash you if we wanted to. You are too tiny to live here. Be on your way before we change our minds and decide to hurt you.”
The pebble didn’t waste any time scurrying from that place. He thought, What is wrong with all these boulders?Don’t they realize I don’t mean to smash into them. I’m just trying to find my way. Like I could ever hurt them anyway.
It was then he heard a small voice in the wind.” Go pebble go. Go where the wind takes you. You are more powerful than you know. Everything that is and has happened to you is for a reason. I didn’t mean you any harm when you crashed into those boulders. I was using you to try to change their hearts. To learn to be more accepting. To love something other than their own pile of boulders. It is not too late for them for you have planted a seed everywhere I have sent you. The choice is theirs. You tried. Keep trying and going forward. Do not be afraid.”
The pebble looked around but did not see anyone. Strange, he thought. At that time another gust of wind picked him up and took him on his way.
Not again, seriously, the pebble thought unbelieving. Why can’t I crash into a pile of grass or a stream of water. Why another pile of boulders? He braced himself for impact.
This time the boulders didn’t yell at him. “Help us,” said the boulders. “We are about to fall off the edge.”
“How can I help you? I am just a small pebble,” the pebble asked. He was thinking this had to be some kind of trick.
“We are about to fall off the edge and we have been asking for someone like you. See this small hole in between us? We need you to jump in there and seal it so we can be strong. With you securing that hole, we don’t have to worry about falling off the ledge.”
Wow, thought the pebble. They really need me. “You can count on me,” he bravely said. “I have been wanting a place to settle down. A place that will accept me for who I am.”
He then jumped right into the hole and secured the boulders together.
“Thank you,” he humbly said, to the boulders and to that small voice he heard.
It was then they heard this rumbling coming down the mountain. All these boulders were falling all around them but , miraculously, none of the falling boulders hit them. The pebble recognized them as the same boulders who yelled at him and told him they didn’t want him.
“Thank you,” said the boulders he was with now. ” Without you, we would’ve had the same fate as those boulders. You saved us pebble.”