Thursday, May 3, 2018

Graduate with Hat

The tassel has been turned.

Gone are the tears that fell like droplets of rain.  In their place, smiles broke through and shone as bright as daffodils.  Fresh opportunities beckon, like the crackle of the binding when opening that new diary to the first blank page.

#1 Daughter (AKA Graduate with Hat) graduated from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) on April 28.

A whirlwind week with family and friends began quietly at my sister's house with a morning garden walk.  I used to claim Autumn as my favorite season, but these days I give my affection to Spring.  Pregnant buds giving birth to unblemished leaves.  Vibrant floral hues taking over from the gray of winter.  The promise of fruit hidden within the flowers.  All of it a fitting metaphor for the bright-eyed hope of spring commencement.

My Mom hosted lunch at her house (it doesn't get any better than homemade sauerkraut soup and bread, followed by friendly Euchre competition!)  We rounded out the day with Ada and the Engine at the KNOW Theatre in Cincinnati; Graduate with Hat serves as the Stage Manager for the show, a position she landed before she even graduated.  Continuing the streak, she has been offered the Resident Stage Manager position at the KNOW in the fall, following her three-month gig at Theatre Aspen in Colorado.  It's always reassuring to the parents when a graduate is able to put that degree to work right away!

The big day dawned sunny but cold.  We were grateful for our fleece blankets as a few of us huddled together on the metal bleachers of Nippert Stadium (and so was the dad seated in the row behind us, who shivered without the sport coat borrowed by his graduating son ... out of compassion, we loaned him one of our blankets partway through the 2.5 hour ceremony).  Just as the sun edged toward our section, clouds moved in with a bit of wind ... brrr!  Graduate with Hat was glad for the sweater under her gown, but it didn't do much for her bare legs ... it felt good to get moving toward the stage and the diploma.  Over 2,000 students walked the stage in her commencement, and we were proud as peacocks to hoot and holler when it was her turn!

The rest of the family joined us for lunch hosted by CCM (thankfully, indoors!)  When feeling returned to my fingers, we briefly ventured into the courtyard to snap family photos, especially at the customary graduation photo spot near the CCM sign.  The afternoon wrapped up with the CCM Convocation, a special graduation ceremony for CCM students.  As I looked around Corbett Auditorium, I couldn't help but remember an orientation meeting that was held just around the corner in this same building.  Where had 4 years gone?

Back at my sister's house, we noshed on a Mexican food buffet and gourmet cupcakes while catching up on family news and playing cards (more euchre!)  Graduate with Hat opened her presents and cards while the family looked on.  All too soon, yawns and sleepy eyes suggested it was time to bring the curtain down on this emotional yet eminently satisfying day.

Our eventful weekend continued on Sunday with lunch at the Melting Pot, long a birthday favorite of #1 Son, who turned the big 20 in April.  His girlfriend joined our meal in Columbus, and we observed that it's only two years before we are celebrating their commencement.  Oh my!  Then our journey led us onward to Cleveland to meet up with former neighbors and work colleagues.

Lodge at Punderson State Park
What a walk down memory lane. Twenty of the "Super Bowl" gang gathered at the Chesterland Tavern, akin to the old days when our house was the meeting place for football, food and friendship.  Driving cross-town to have lunch with former work colleagues was a deja vu moment, recalling hundreds of times I'd passed that way, and there was laughter a-plenty as we shared stories old and new.  A night at Punderson State Park was reminiscent of a stay here over 10 years ago, when we returned to Cleveland from the UK and rented a cabin until our furniture arrived.  Joining friends in the hotel bar, three hours passed like quicksilver, as time does when you re-connect with like minds and hearts.

We took advantage of a break in the action to pop in to quaint Chagrin Falls on a sunny afternoon - a delightful spot where our kids tumbled around the town playground and savored ice cream from the famous Popcorn Shop.  For old time's sake, I enjoyed a couple of scoops!  Spousal Unit even caught 40 winks in the warm sun!

The next day, we were sent on our way with tummies full of a delicious breakfast made by one of our former neighbors (thanks, guys!) On the road again ... back to Cincinnati for an afternoon at the zoo, joined by my sister and Graduate with Hat, who had been aching to see Fiona, a baby hippo born on January 24, 2017.  Apparently, everyone else is just as infatuated with little Fiona - it was impossible to get a picture of her ... but I did manage to capture some nice videos - an elephant taking a bath, feeding time for the giraffes and two Bengal tigers playing (?) together.  

As we wandered the tulip-laden walkways, Spousal Unit reminded me that this very zoo had been one of the first places he visited upon his arrival in the US.  Such is the circle of life.

The fun-filled week was capped by a barbecue dinner at my niece's house; we sipped wine and beer while the kids and the dogs entertained us with their antics.  I looked around and sighed with contentment; the last six days had been jammed and I was ready for a 'vacation from the vacation', but it was worth everything to honor Graduate with Hat.

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  1. ...exciting times in Ohio, congratulations! Thanks for brightening my rainy day those gorgeous tulips.

  2. what a terrific supportive extended family. And cograts to your daughter for the successful launch!

  3. Wow! Now that's a great string of ways to celebrate your graduate. Hats off to her for landing those great jobs already! I can understand the need for a vacation from the vacation. A great testimony to good relationships with family and friends and former neighbors! You are a blessing and you are blessed.

  4. What a lovely weekend of good things. Congratulations on the recent graduate. I so remember my graduation many years ago. Such an accomplishment.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ♥

  5. WOWZIE . . .
    a full six days of vacation . .
    Congratulations to the daughter with the “cute cap!”

  6. Great for your daughter, beautiful place.

  7. Wow, A busy but memorable weekend. I am glad you had such a lovely time with your family.
    The stadium for a graduation looks amazing. So far, my son has managed to catch the hottest day of the summer (or it feels like it!) for his 2 degrees - once in Guildford Cathedral and the other in Reading Uni Great Hall. But this Masters will be in September (I think), so I wonder what it will be like.

  8. Congratulations to your daughter! It sounds like her accomplishment was well celebrated with plenty of delicious food, ceremony, family and fun! Now you can relax!

  9. Congratulations to #1 Daughter and to you all.

  10. Hi Angie,
    I love your DD graduation hat - how exciting that all her hard work is behind her and that she has a job in her field. Oh the flowers are beautiful - I'm coming around to the Spring as the favorite season side of things when has always held that position. So nice to finally have an end to winter! ~smile~ Roseanne

  11. Congratulations! Working in music AND theatre … delving into reality and fantasy in a playful way. Graduate with Hat will, indeed, go far, especially with the encouragement of her lovely supportive family who it's clear have always had her best interests at heart.

  12. Congratulations to your daughter -- and you two deserve congrats as well! Lovely to make new memories as you celebrate -- and fun to revisit the old ones. So nice to see family and friends ... and then to come back to your beautiful new home. Every bit of it sounds delightful.

  13. Cheers to the Graduate with the Hat! I smile remembering life after college graduation. Your vacation with family and old friends and neighbors sounded wonderful. I enjoyed the elephant video. :-) Most of all your poetic descriptions.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

  14. Love it when people graduate from college - there is so much hope, and skill! Awesome that she had a job before she graduated - that takes the pressure off for her:)
    In Holland Conservatory means the graduate has skills in two instruments (or one instrument and voice) - is it the same here? What an amazing time you had on your trip! Thank you for sharing this mile stone with All Seasons, and have a lovely spring week!

  15. Congratulations to your daughter. What a special day! Fun celebration. Lovely flowers. Happy Monday!

  16. Congratulations to your daughter, what a special day.
    Beautiful photos and collages.
    Best regards, Irma

  17. What a wonderful way to celebrate your daughters graduation, you must be very, very proud parents indeed. Such a fun filled week packed with old friends, family, reminiscences and making new memories together. It sounds as if your husband (like mine) knows the importance of a taking nap, and now the festivities are over you can join him perhaps?

  18. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving such kind words.
    Congratulations to your daughter and happy birthday to your son.
    Sounds like a wonderful time was had my all.

  19. Congrats to your daughter. What a grand time you all had. It's nice to catch up with family and old friends. Wishing you daughter lots of success.

  20. Congratulations to your daughter and you! Always an exciting milestone in life ~ for all ~ Wishing the best for the grad!

    Beautiful photography on your post ~ so lovely for Spring!

    Happy Week ahead to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  21. What a wonderful post, Angie, and a very special family time! I particularly love those tulips, too - would love to visit the Netherlands and see fields of them! Thank you for your kind comment.

  22. Congratulations to your graduate! How exciting. Your flowers are just beautiful. It's still a bit cool here but we are hoping it will warm up next week.

  23. Hurray! Love the flowers a lot.

  24. Congratulations to the graduate...and to her parents! It seems like yesterday that WE were the graduates.

  25. Congratulations to your daughter! Good luck to her in her new position at the KNOW. It's nice to see your visit to Ohio and good times with friends and old haunts

  26. Wow - that was some great week! Congratulations to girl in hat on graduating. You had great joyful events to celebrate and looks like good companionship and food.

  27. wow...what a festive week for you!! i really like the way graduates decorate their caps these day, your daughters is pretty awesome!! and a big congrats to her!!

    we have a melting pot near-by but i have never gone. every time we pass it i am reminded that i would like to try it!!

    my favorite season is whatever season it is...gorgeous pictures today!!!

  28. Congratulations to girl in a hat. Sounds like you had a joyful homecoming as well. I love your descriptions.

  29. I wish your daughter a great future.

    Love the little waterfall!

  30. Great idea for a graduate hat.

  31. Hello, sounds like a wonderful vacation. I was just in Ohio too. Beautiful flowers and I enjoyed the videos. Congrats to your daughter. I am sorry to be so late commenting. I just got home from our road trip and I am now trying to catch up on my commenting. Thanks so much for linking up your post. Have a happy day and weekend ahead.

  32. Oh how wonderful! Congrats to your daughter. Isn't a graduation the best event!? I cried thru both of my girls. I was so proud. Today is the graduation at the U of M. I love to drive by and see the graduates walking by in their caps and gowns. :) Kit

  33. You were so busy I got tired just reading this!
    Congratulations to all of you for the graduation.
    It sounds like you have a great family.

  34. Congrats to your daughter! Sounds like you had a very busy week celebrating. Our son's graduation was a much quieter event. Seems our kids are about the same age. They were both born in October and will turn 23 and 20 respectively. :) I miss them and wish I weren't so far away.


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