There are days that are important in life. Days that matter. Days that stick out in our past that we will never forget no matter what else we experience in the future. Today didn't feel like one of those days when I woke up, but as I'm writing this I know that it is.
Some of those important days in my past I had to endure rather than celebrate, like the first time I celebrated a birthday without my dad. Some of them I didn't know were important milestones until weeks or months after they had passed like the day I met my amazing wife. Rarely but thankfully some of them I have recognized as special as they were happening, and that meant I could capture them in detail and save a piece of that day forever.
As I sat with my wife and family watching my son enter the gym of his High School in his cap and gown this afternoon the importance of the day hit me full force. I experienced something that connected me to what my parents felt 22 years ago when I made a similar journey into a similar gymnasium 60 miles from here. I flashed back in that instant to the moment eleven years and fifty-one weeks ago when my son walked with my daughter out of their foster home to our car for their first overnight visit to our home. I recalled all the visits to school principals, counsellors, IEP meetings, and case workers. My son has come so far from the lonely broken little boy we adopted that some of those memories shocked me to think about.
When we met with his first grade teacher we were told our son had severe learning issues and radical social interaction problems. We were cautioned that he was more than 18 months behind his peers academically and he might never catch up in a traditional classroom environment. Carrie and I agonized over what to do, but after a lot of prayer and counsel decided we would hold him back a year but not let them give up and move him into special education classes.
There are many of those moments from my past I'm proud of, and many more I'm not. There is nothing that gives me more pride than seeing what my boy was able to accomplish today. It wasn't easy for him. He had to work hard and find his own ways to make sense of the world around him. He had to study harder than I did at his age because things didn't come as easily to him. He never backed down. Never quit trying. Never let anyone tell him something was beyond his ability. And today that little boy they said needed special education graduated with honors.
So it's one of those days, and I couldn't be happier.