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My daughter is graduating from high school this week.
I’m sorry, I stand to be corrected.
According to proper grammar (for all those honor graduates who actually use it), she is being graduated, flying the coop, officially emptying the nest.
I have to admit I’m feeling pretty graduated myself, realizing once she heads off to the University of South Carolina in three months, I’ll be forced to find someone else to nag to get up in the mornings, along with other assorted issues. After 18 years, I may actually have to get myself a life.
But the way she sleeps in, like a bear in hibernation, the USC Gamecock Marching Band led by Cocky himself could blare through her dorm room, and she isn’t going to hear it.
I’m sure she’ll still need mama’s special morning wake-up calls whether she wants them or not, though she has ambitious aspirations in her all-important college years to schedule all afternoon classes.
In preparation for her graduation, I remembered not to forget about another special ceremony.
“Y’all having baccalaureate?” I asked a few weeks ago.
What’s that, she wondered, spurring maternal fears about what she’s actually learned these past 12 years.
You know, baccalaureate, I said, one of those million-dollar words only middle-schoolers in the Scripps National Spelling Bee know how to spell without peeking in the dictionary. Just give ’em the word origin (Medieval Latin baccalaureatus), and they’re good to go.
You know, I added, sneaking my own peek on Merriam-Webster.com while she wasn’t looking, “A sermon to a graduating class. The service at which this sermon is delivered. Everybody knows that.”
She wasn’t sure.
A few days later, an invitation arrived in the mail announcing the Class of 2008 is indeed having a baccalaureate service. It was spelled right and everything.
“I’m so proud—you do have baccalaureate two days before graduation,” I said, growing teary-eyed as I consulted the online dictionary once again to make sure I was using the proper pronunciation.
Sunday, the tears welled again as she and five other Class of ’08 soon-to-be graduates filed into the sanctuary to be recognized at church. They wore their matching blue gowns and mortarboards.
One by one, photographs of each were flashed overhead on a giant screen, accompanied by their recorded statements about their growing-up years and bright futures beckoning just ahead.
I reached for a Kleenex.
If this keeps up, I’ll need a jumbo box at graduation.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.