While a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A Boy Graduates in Virginia

My grandfather, father, me and my son in 1995

My grandfather, father, me and my son in 1995

Eighteen years ago a little boy was born in Virginia. Like every child there was dreams of many great adventures and blessings to come. Yesterday one of the biggest phases of life came to fruition as my son Isaac donned the cap and gown and strode across the stage to accept the diploma signifying his completion of high school. As I told him and many others over the last few days, the usual expectation is that every child will be born, grow up, go to school, finish high school and go on to college. I certainly thought that when I received my bundle of joy SHortly before midnight on May 7 1995. Thankfully I was ignorant of the possibilities of complications many parents would face with their children.

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We had some friends that had a son the same day and their experience was much different as they lost their son to cancer while our boys were in elementary school. I also learned others children my son’s age struggle with forms of autism and attention disorders. Every experience is unique. In ours God has blessed us abundantly all along the way. Knowing the blessings you have and giving thanks is something we understand.

My son as eighth grade member of the high school marching band.

My son as eighth grade member of the high school marching band.

Over thirteen years of school we have enjoyed so many memorable moments, but high school seemed to have more than any period in my son’s life. Our prayers for our children to be blessed with musical talent came true in spades, as both of them are in the band and chorus programs at their school. I can still remember the pride I felt when as an eight grade student my son walked on the field for his first marching band competition. I was nearly overwhelmed, but full of pride.

My son as a senior with the Patrick Henry Rebel Regiment

My son as a senior with the Patrick Henry Rebel Regiment

At the final competition of his high school career the band captured a grand champion award and all the seniors got turns hoisting the hardware.

At the final competition of his high school career the band captured a grand champion award and all the seniors got turns hoisting the hardware.

We have been to every band competition and every football game as Isaac and then Meredith crisscrossed our region to entertain us with their talent. Along the way the kids also added chorus concerts where my son became a regular soloist, providing me with more opportunities to be the proud papa. I love being a parent and watching my kids shine.

Senior attire.

Senior attire.

About ten days ago my son sang in his last chorus concert. Near the end of each spring concert the seniors sing a piece that is a tradition. This year my son was the only senior boy and so he got to belt out his piece alone. I think he was two or three words in before the waterworks began with me. I struggled to hold the video camera still as i listened to him sing his heart out and wow the crowd. I guess I was proud and sentimental at the same time, knowing it would be his last high school performance.

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Junior prom picture with mom.

The same thing happened to me at his last marching band competition. When you do something for five years you kind of develop an affection for the thrills and I hated the thoughts of it coming to a close. Thankfully I still have the opportunity to enjoy the process with my daughter and will likely need some intervention by emotional counselors when she is a senior.

The 2013 Prom picture that now is his Facebook profile.

The 2013 Prom picture that now is his Facebook profile.

My son’s love of music is very broad, but biggest favorite genre is country music. As a surprise graduation present we whisked he and our daughter away for their first country music concert to Greensboro, North Carolina. They had no clue where we were going or why. As we turned into the Greensboro Coliseum complex we made them close their eyes. As we passed the parking area I saw four big rigs with the signature artist’s name and picture on them and was so glad we had asked them to close their eyes.

The first country concert was a big one.

The first country concert was a big one.

When we parked we covered their eyes and turned them where they could see the trailers and then did “the big reveal” as they say on television. The look on their faces was priceless. My son looked at me and said ” we are really here to see Jason Aldean? We told them not only Mr. Aldean, but Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett. They were beyond thrilled.

Sharing his love of guns with the party guests.

Sharing his love of guns with the party guests.

Graduation season is a magical time in every child’s life. It is a time where all the hard work pay off with the completion of a transition from childhood to adulthood. another passion of my son is hunting and firearms. His present to himself for his eighteenth birthday was a new 12 gauge shotgun. For him it was as much a statement of transition as anything.

The perfect picture to symbolize the sunset of his high school career and beginning of a new adventure.

The perfect picture to symbolize the sunset of his high school career and beginning of a new adventure.

Following his graduation yesterday we welcomed dozens of friends and family to our home for a celebration. With music, dancing, food, skeet and target shooting, I feel we let him know how proud we all are of him. You see I believe we have to congratulate our youth as they achieve these precious milestones. The odds for many kids are so great they just will not strive for what many consider to be automatic. I understand how blessed we are to have such an upstanding you man and I will take every opportunity to let him know.

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About Joe Owens

Can you tell from my writing I love God? I hope so because that is what I want you to know most about me. I am also a writer who loves taking on fiction prompts and crafting a story. One day you will read my work in print. Until then enjoy it here! For free!
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3 Responses to While a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A Boy Graduates in Virginia

  1. Miranda says:

    I recently made a page called Patrick Henry Rebel Regiment Past and Present. I used a couple of your band pics. I hope that is ok, if not let me know and I will take them down. Loved reading your story. I went to PH and was in the band. Now my daughter is. Band was the best part of my high school days.

  2. ARK says:

    Your posts are a joy always… this nostalgic one is yet another jewel…i have included your name as the most inspiring blogger in my recent post “My Journey”

  3. tadalena says:

    It’s a sweet story. I especially enjoy the pic of Isaac, you, your father, and grandfather. I’m thinking you take after your mother because you look nothing like your dad or granddad. Thanks for sharing.

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