Before we had our daughter, I could not imagine what parenthood might be like. And although I knew that my parents loved me, I could not fathom the depth of that love until I became a parent myself. Sure, parenthood is hard (I feel like I'm STILL learning how to be a mom), but it also brings with it some pretty amazing moments. As it turns out, this girl -- this smart, talented, and very strong girl -- has brought me more joy as a parent than I ever thought possible.
This past weekend, we celebrated with her as she graduated with High Distinction from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, with a Bachelor of Music Education - Percussion, the equivalent of a second major in choral music education, and minors in conducting and Spanish. IU's music curriculum is one of the most rigorous in the nation, yet she insists that this achievement was "no big deal" -- she says she just did what was asked of her. But her father and I know that she has worked extremely hard and prepared herself exceedingly well with support from the incredible music faculty.
Look back with me to August of 2010, when we left home with this girl sick with worry in the back seat of the SUV. I minimized it in that blog post, but trust me: She was incredibly apprehensive about being 8 hours from home and very fearful about how she would fare in such a big program. We knew she would be just fine, but she had to prove it to herself. And in very short order, she did.
If pride is a sin, I'm absolutely guilty. I could not be more proud of this girl. So it was a complete joy to participate in this milestone event, one that I could never have imagined 22 years ago.
As luck would have it, the students from the college of music were accidentally seated in the front row -- out of 11,000 graduates in attendance.
And as luck would also have it, the rain which threatened to derail the event held off until the moment we left the stadium.
The commencement speaker was sports broadcaster and IU graduate Sage Steele, who asked the graduates, "How will you choose to live your life?" and challenged them to "choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong". Good advice for all of us.
The celebration continued with a ceremony at Jacobs, where each student was recognized and shook the hand of the dean.
Bailey was one of 350+ graduates of the music school, which included (I'm guessing) fewer than 20 from the percussion department. Here she is with her some of her fellow percussion graduates. (I knew she was short, but...!)
Now I don't have any hard and fast numbers, but I can tell you that for whatever reason, there are (in general) very few female percussionists. There are even fewer percussionists who pursue a music education degree. (The vast majority seek to play rather than teach.) So it follows that there are very, very few female band directors who specialize in percussion. Although she may not agree, I know that it is often harder to be one of few than one of many, and I applaud her for being a role model for others to follow. We know that Bailey's unique background and skills will help her become a great music educator.
So here's to our girl, with a grateful heart for all the joy she has given us over the years. And here's to all the joy that is yet to come. Her father and I can't wait to watch her future unfold!