A Graduation to Remember

Maroon and Gold Graduation Necklace
Maroon and Gold Graduation Necklace

I can still remember the first time my parents attended my graduation. My mom was holding a lovely lei and my dad had this big smile on his face. “Come, here. I’ll put this rosette lei on you,” she said as she approached me.

“You really didn’t need to, Ma,” I said as I leaned my head near her.

She smiled. “This is actually cool. I even saw my kumares buying it for their children’s graduation. I thought of you, then,” she explained.

“Congratulations, anak!” Dad said then hugged me. I honestly felt a little overwhelmed by their presence.

For years, this is what I’ve been dreaming of. We were never complete in any events in my life may it be my recognition, elementary moving up/graduation, or even my birthdays. To be honest, I started not caring whether there would be someone to put award ribbons on me or surprise me with flowers in the most important moments in my life. I just had to continue studying just so I could reach my dreams. Maybe then, they would figure out that I am also their family.

A little back story, Mom and Dad decided to move forward separately as things were not working well in their relationship. Years after, they started building their own family. The thing is, they seemed to have forgotten about me.

Ever since they separated, I was left in the care of my grandmother in Pasig City. Lola was the one who attended all my school events and other important affairs. As a kid, I strived hard to receive awards and honors, hoping that my parents would spare some time for me. Unfortunately, they are too busy building their own separate worlds.

That is why, seeing my mom holding this rosette lei and my dad’s heartwarming smile is but a dream come true for me.

Rainbow Graduation Garland
Rainbow Graduation Garland

“Go! Find your seat. Your Dad and I will wait on the parents’ section. We can’t wait to pin your award ribbons later, anak. So proud of you!” It was Dad. After some years, they finally learned to put their past behind and be civil in co-parenting me.

After the long wait, my name was called on stage. “Clara Anastasia Recto, with high honors, co-curricular service awardee, leadership awardee, Manuel L. Quezon academic awardee, and other awards”. My heart beat fast as I walked towards the stage with my parents. As we reached the platform, my adviser and the school officials started giving them the award ribbons that we call, “badges” and medals. I can’t help but notice that the rosette lei’s pin sparkled as it was hit by the spotlight. However, it could never be compared to the eyes of my parents who were now teary-eyed.

After the ceremony, we went out for dinner. It’s like they never separated. They still get each other’s jokes although it was evident that they did not have any romantic feelings for each other anymore. That’s okay. I was still grateful that I got to experience this. It was all that I’ve been dreaming of ever since. Indeed, it was a graduation to remember.

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