Thursday, May 21, 2009

a long tale of five years past

five years ago i was eighteen years old. my hair was blonder, i knew everything, i had a dairy queen paycheck and a cd player to my name and a million different things i wanted to do with my life. and it was graduation morning.

i missed A LOT of school my senior year. it was a combination of health problems and a touch of senioritis. therefor, come my last few weeks at show low high school i was busting my tail to bring up my grades and make up assignments. really-busting my tail.

was i stressed? heck no. not me. california girl wannabe ashley? no way.

my body STRONGLY disagreed.

i woke up feeling relieved and anxious. all i had to worry about right then was getting myself presentable enough to make it to our morning rehearsal. that i could do.

wait. what's this?

holy crap i can't sit up. i can't move my neck.

i'm paralyzed!!!!!

freaking out, i called for someone.

elsie came to my rescue.

"els, will you get dad? i can't move?" and i just laid there. unable to move, trying not to sob.

up the stairs came my dad. i had obviously woken him up prematurely and i felt bad. but mostly i was happy he was in there and that he was going to make it all better.

he asked me what was wrong and i started crying harder.

"i can't move my neck dad. i can't even pull myself up. my head weighs a hundred pounds."

so he scooped me out of bed and took me downstairs. as the family was congregating for morning prayer and scripture reading my mom told them all the reason for my ridiculous tears.

my dad gave me a blessing. i think he was being extra careful not to put the full weight of his hands on my head. he is nice like that. this was followed by family prayer. i don't remember who gave it, a younger sibling i know, and they prayed for my neck to be better so i could graduate. i had finally stopped crying and this sweet prayer made me chuckle inside.

my mom and amber helped me up the stairs to my room. at this point i realized i could walk, and that was about it. i couldn't' turn my head in any direction or bend my back. so they dutifully remained in my room until my last shoelace was tied. what would we do without our family?

since i wasn't really safe to drive, my mom dropped me off at the gym and i went straight in to find my right hand woman, Ann-Marie. i'm pretty sure she could tell by my much too proper posture that something was out of the ordinary. i robotically walked up the bleachers and sat down next to her. she made fun of how i walked. i told her my problem. she laughed at me. we had donuts and orange juice and the rehearsal ensued.

i sat in my chair waiting for my name to be called. ann-marie was not far behind me. as was typical for us, i decided i would give her something to laugh at. so when taking my imaginary diploma from the stand-in superintendent i made an exaggerated full turn to the front of the stage for my "picture moment". i got back to my seat to find her laughing. i had done my job. pretty sure no one else got it though.

afterwards we joked that i was actually going to have to do that for the REAL graduation. it didn't seem so funny to me then.

we headed out to the parking lot, inscribed our names for all eternity in the freshly poured slab of concrete and headed back to paloma drive.

i walked in the door and of course my mom already had a plan of action. we got in the car and headed to snowflake where i received a very painful adjustment from my uncle, the chiropractor. i mean, it really hurt. we piddled around in town for a little while and then returned for a second time. he did a little more manipulating of my neck and we headed home. i was aching bad but my head could now turn about twenty degrees each way. success!

things began loosening up throughout the remainder of the day. by the time i arrived at the school, things were nearly normal. still not perfect, but better.

i received my diploma without one trip, slip or stumble. i could pick out my mom's whistle and ann-marie's cheering when they called my name. both very familiar sounds. the ceremony went by so quickly. i'm sure all of the speeches were very inspiring, but my mind was in a thousand other places. that's just how i am. i was at least alert enough to hit the giant beach ball that had been passed my way. mrs. fredley did not look so pleased at my decision to keep it in motion. oh mrs. fredley....we never did have a very good relationship. our caps were thrown and a giant mess of confetti and silly string was made. graduation was over. my days as a high school student were a thing of the past.

i felt out of place as i hugged everyone and realized i was possibly one of the only people with dry eyes. it wasn't that i wasn't going to miss a lot of people...i just felt so happy to be done that i couldn't even make myself tear up a little. and perhaps all of my tears had been drained that morning anyways.

my parents and grandparents were there. that cute boy i was dating had been there but had to leave early to catch his sister's graduation in heber. that boy's name was matt, by the way. my team of brothers and sisters were there and beaming with pride. i suspect some of them doubted i could pull it off. it was an excellent night.

i found ann-marie and we made our way to the wrestling room where the guts of our diplomas were being handed out. we took a few more pictures {which i cannot find anywhere} and then headed to her car. we peeled out of the parking lot with the windows down as we both yelled out a very loud "woo hoo" and watched the school disappear behind us.

that was 2004. i have since been married, had two boys and had so many life experiences that sometimes my high school days seem like a dream i was once in. but i'm happy for the friends i made and the things i learned. i guess it wasn't all as miserable as i had thought.


Congratulations Class of 2009!



Kacie said...

I think I know Ann Marie. Did she do cosmetology? She looks very familiar. Cute cute pictures. Isn't it crazy how fast everything goes. It seems like just yesterday I graduated from High School. Every once in awhile I miss PARTS of High School. But then again, I am so glad I am out of the chapter of my life, and have me own little family.

The Blonde Duck said...

What an amazing tale!

Mike West said...

Wow after going through that little trip down memory lane I just started getting all sorts of flash backs. I got goose bumps thinking that it was this time five years ago we did graduate. I had no idea what you were going through. I'm sorry that you had to go through that. Do you remember during that year during seminary or show biz or something you, Ann-Marie, and me went somewhere in Ann-Marie's car and you two were singing and acting out that song from Moulan Rouge? That was funny and fun.

Anonymous said...