Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chloe graduates, life goes on

If everything went according to plan, my daughter Chloe graduated from high school last night.

I say "if everything went according to plan" because I'm writing this in mid-April and, you know, lots of things could happen between now and the time you're reading this that would prevent Chloe from receiving her diploma.

Murder, for instance. Chloe may commit murder in the next few weeks and be locked away for life well before commencement.

One time Chloe drew up a list (this is absolutely true) that she posted on our refrigerator headlined "People Who Won't Die When I Get a Sword." I was relieved that my name appeared on the list, but I genuinely felt for those who were excluded. They should watch their backs once Chloe gets her hands on a sword.

Because that's the thing with Chloe, you see. She's like Mike Tyson in that absolutely anything you hear about her, no matter how off the wall, could possibly be true.

She has always been a little bit crazy. And by "crazy," I simultaneously mean both "endearingly quirky" and "frighteningly unbalanced." It's one of the many things I love about her, and I believe it's a primary reason she has accomplished so much thus far in her young life.

Chloe is intensely self-motivated in the way only the most talented eccentrics can be. Whatever she sets her mind to, she does. And she does it well. Soccer, music, academics, lopping people's heads off. Whatever it is, Chloe is driven to be the best.

One result is that  again, if everything went according to plan and she avoided any sort of legal entanglement  Chloe had the honor of giving a speech at last night's graduation ceremony as the Salutatorian of her class. Her academic achievements earned her a complete scholarship to the University of Akron, where God willing she will study biomedical engineering beginning this fall.

I shouldn't call it a "complete" scholarship because I think we still have to pay for books. But saying that is really looking a gift horse in the mouth, since the scholarship covers four full years' worth of tuition and room and board. As a father of five children, I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that particular blessing.

She was also named the Most Valuable Player on her high school soccer team last fall based almost solely on a strong left foot and the ability to run seemingly forever and ever. She was never the fastest or most athletic person on that team, but she excelled through sheer force of will.

Which is how I expect she'll also succeed in life. When Chloe wants something, she's not to be denied, regardless of what natural tools or gifts she may or may not have. She wants it, she'll have it, she gets it. Maybe not every time, but close to it.

But you know what? While that's all well and good, and it largely describes who Chloe is, it neglects the fact that she also has an immense capacity to love. Her heart is bigger than even the Grinch's was when it grew three sizes in one day. She is passionate and she is loyal, and those are qualities I will always admire in her.

So working under the assumption that Wickliffe High School did indeed last night confer upon Chloe a piece of paper making her an official high school graduate, we hit another milestone in our family. We're not the first, and we won't be the last, but it does mean that we've gotten 40% of our children through the Wickliffe school system. Two down, three to go.

Congratulations, Chloe. You deserve all of the wonderful things people have said about you over the past few weeks, and I know you'll earn many more compliments along the way. I hope you know how much I love you, not only because I'm your father, but also because I want to stay on that list of people who are safe from your sword...

No comments:

Post a Comment