To the graduates of 2020:

I love celebrations. I love moments in time that mark momentous occasions. Its how we remember the chapters of our lives. Graduation is one of the biggies. Its marks the successful end of one season and the threshold of a new and exciting season to come. I’ve cried real tears for you and the things that you’ve lost during the Covid 19 Pandemic. The last semester of school, the gatherings with friends, the celebrations and dances and all of the senior activities. The actual ceremony itself and the chance for you to be recognized by your family and friends, teachers and professors for the things you’ve accomplished.
Julian graduated from UC Berkeley this month in a virtual ceremony. We did our best to make it special. We certainly will not forget the experience of sitting in the comfort our family room watching the ceremony on the large screen TV and then listing to each family member give a short speech about what we love about Julian. His brothers all created a human tunnel for him to walk under and I handed him his degree to uproarious applause from our large family, who then picked him up on their shoulders and marched him around the room. And yet, it wasn’t the graduation any of us had expected to attend this June.

As I was preparing Julian’s graduation gift (a series of 4 photo albums archiving each year at college) I realized that while the final semester at school and the graduation ceremony didn’t happen, there are many things that can never be taken away from him. I shared with Julian in a letter I wrote to him, and I would share with all of you who are 2020 graduates, that focusing on what you have rather that what you lost will make whatever ceremony you have, all the sweeter.

These years have brought you friendships, deep and lasting friendships, many that will last you a life time. These years have brought you courage. You have tried new things, traveled to new places, met new people and proven to yourself that you are capable of more than you imagined. These years have brought you knowledge. You have learned things that will carry you for the rest of your life, your curiosity has been piqued and you will continue to explore the things that excite you. These years have brought you perspective. You have met people from different paths and cultures that have taught you there are many ways to view the world. These years have given you memories. Memories of dancing with abandon at concerts, laughing until you cried with your friends, playing your sport with passion, sitting quietly as your mind opened up to a new understanding, sitting in a crowded booth at your favorite restaurant with friends all talking at once and just being grateful to be alive. All of these things are yours- and no one can take them away from you. I hope this graduation will be about focusing on everything you have. I think that is something worth celebrating.  #butterflybtc