Graduate Parade…

Hallie donned her cap and gown for the first time for the first ever “Graduate Parade” for our high school. Graduates were bussed to their old elementary school where they were greeted by enthusiastic students lining the hallways and courtyards with homemade signs. They cheered and screamed as they stuck out their hands to generously give high fives to all the graduates walking by.

There was so much energy and so much excitement. The graduates walked their old hallways and gave hugs to tearful educators who supported them at a much younger age. At one point, I stood in the courtyard as the kids chanted in unison “MVT” (the local high school they will be a part of one day) as the graduates made their way through. It was a simple, yet powerful and emotional moment – representative of so many people cheering these graduates on as they venture into an unknown world. I hope they make that transition with the energy of those third graders who were screaming for them in excitement.

Briggs and Cannon were lucky enough to be cheering for their sister and her friends. The looks on their faces when they saw their sister walking by was priceless – they knew a celebrity that day and they let all their friends know it!

And Hallie was so cute and just as excited to see them – the way she looked into their eyes and pullsed them in was magical.

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Seminary day…

Steve and I got to spend the day in seminary; from A-hour to 7th period. Back in the day we tag teamed early morning seminary and that was a chore – but teaching all day is a different experience. For starters – we taught the same thing every hour and yet every class had varying levels of engagement. We have a personal relationship with many of the kids that walked into our classroom because they are from our stake (geographic assignment) and those classes always were more engaged.

One class in particular had both Hallie and Hunter (they are typically in the same class which is fun for them) and several of their friends. I don’t want to claim favorites, but it was by far our best class. Knowing them personally definitely has an effect on how they acted in the class and their level of participation.

My favorite was seeing kids walk through our door who don’t belong to our stake but wanted to be in our classroom because they’ve spent time in our home and they know we love them – and we really do.

These teenagers offered so many insightful thoughts and feelings throughout the day. I was impressed with their willingness to share the deeper side of their hearts in vulnerable ways.

And in an effort to keep it real, we also had kids walk through our door who were so disrespectful and I was reminded why teenagers sometimes get a bad reputation. We didn’t know these kids, they didn’t know us – they weren’t from our stake. I’m sure because they didn’t know us it was easy to act the way they did and as luck would have it, it was our last and largest class of the day which made it even harder.

Fortunately, the good outweighed the bad. It usually does. We had a great day filled with so many positive connections.

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Region champs…

They clenched their third consecutive region title! Unlike the regular season where you play both singles and doubles every match – the district tournament allows each school to send two singles players and two doubles players. Last year, as a junior, Hallie fought hard to be crowned the singles champion. This year, she’s been focusing on doubles in preparation for state and she decided to play doubles.

Her doubles team had to face an opponent who beat them just one week prior (after her partner had just returned from a surgery) and the stakes were high – these were important stats for state tournament rankings. Our girls showed up and delivered a beautiful performance and not only got revenge on their previous match but they also won the gold division for doubles. Add to that, our team didn’t give up a single match and both boys and girls from our school brought home the region trophies. These two teams carry some tremendous athletes.

I think this is one of Hallie’s highlights of the tennis season every year. She trains with so many kids from other schools and they come together at regions and it’s a good time. She can beat them on the court and then laugh and joke with them after – she has made so many fun friends through tennis and we love them all even when they attend rival schools.

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Parenting is a marathon…

If you look at my photo catalog right now, you’ll notice a common theme over the last month: Hallie.

The final quarter of her senior year is proving to be more eventful than I could have imagined and we’re enjoying every minute.

And as much as we’re enjoying this stage – it can be exhausting. When I read this quote, I relate with it deep in my bones.

Parenting is a marathon. With Hallie, we are on that final sprint uphill in pouring rain, while avoiding lightning bolts!

Friends warned me this would be the case, but Hallie seems to be stealing the show and attention lately (rightfully so) and I’m having a hard time not writing every post about her. Tennis season. Church senior dinner. City tournament. Senior photos. State tennis. Prom. Elementary graduation walk. Graduation announcements. And it keeps on coming!

Because this blog is a history of our family, I try really hard to give space to every kid and what they’re up to. But I’m just preparing you – it’s about to become the Hallie show. Its inevitable – she’s graduating and we are celebrating that accomplishment and everything that goes along with that – which is a lot!

Consider yourself warned!

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We had a good run…

I don’t think I’m quite ready to talk about these photos – considering that just looking at them makes me tear up. (And I have so many other tennis posts to catch up on – I’ll have to circle back to them!)

But Hallie’s face carries all the emotion from this afternoon when she competed in her last high school tennis match. She left it all on the court today and I couldn’t be more proud as I watched her. She has come so far in the last year alone; developing a dangerous serve and stroking the ball effortlessly. She has worked so hard and dedicated so much time to the sport, tennis is deeply rooted in her life.

But she has decided she does not want to pursue tennis after high school so this is the end of her competitive road as she knows it. And even though she strongly stands by that decision, it doesn’t make the end any easier. So today was a little emotional. For her and for us. I love watching her play – I would choose watching her over most any other entertainment or sport. And I’m going to greatly miss it. Probably just as much as she’s going to miss playing it. I keep reminding her tennis is a lifelong sport and she’ll probably play for the rest of her life. But today was the end of a really important chapter in her life.

Her coach said it best as he drove the van full of girls out of the parking lot this evening. He rolled down the window as I crossed the parking lot. With enthusiasm in his voice, he waved and said, “We had a good run!”

We sure did.

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