Sunday, May 12, 2019

John Paul Graduates from College

So this really happened. John Paul Janaro graduated. From COLLEGE*!

(*note to people from outside the U.S.A., "college" in our country refers to "university" level education, as in "high-school-was-four-years-ago." I covered that graduation on this blog in 2015.)

When I began blogging in January 2011, John Paul was 13 years old. I used to write a lot more about the kids in those days, because they were all still kids.

Then they became adolescents (well, Josefina is still not quite there yet) and I have written less about them as they have grown older and developed their own stories.

Most recently, young adulthood is becoming the reality for the three oldest ones. They were all three students at Christendom this past year (John Paul as a Senior, Agnese as a Sophomore, and Lucia as a Freshman). They have jobs. They pay taxes. They drive. They vote. It's crazy!😉 How did this, like, happen... all of a sudden? As a young parent, you can start to feel like your kids are going to be children forever (a sometimes winsome, other times frightening feeling). Then, boom, they grow up.

Of course, life is always changing. Family life is always changing. Sometimes it's painful to "let go" of things, but eventually we start to learn that this is the way we grow. It's necessary, even though it can also be difficult.

Significant things have changed (in different ways) for our family just in the Spring of 2019. My father finished his earthly pilgrimage last month, and now my son has completed his undergraduate education. The former remains a source of grief and deepening of faith in Christ's victory over death; the latter is a more easily perceived cause for congratulations and celebration.

More than any of the other kids, John Paul has memories of my years as an active classroom teacher, before health issues brought on my very premature "retirement" and shift to my present engagements in research and writing. It has been some time since I participated in an academic ceremony at my own institution, but my son's graduation seemed a fitting occasion to put on my own cap and gown and join my colleagues once again.

It turned out to be a very rewarding experience.

Over the years, I had many pictures taken with graduating students outside the gym at Christendom College after commencement exercises. "My students" always held (and continue to hold) a special place in my heart. They remember John Paul as a baby and at various stages of his childhood. And though I never taught John Paul in a classroom, he likes to point out that he "had me as a professor" for the first 18 years of his life.😉

This is true. We've been having conversations of every kind since he learned to talk. And I have enjoyed hearing about his classes and his experiences during the past four years. I'm glad I was able to be part of his graduation ceremony.

Of course, the rest of the family was there too. Eileen and I are very proud of him, and grateful to God for all His blessings through the years.

Congratulations to John Paul and to the Class of 2019!