At this time of year colleges, universities and high schools in the United States begin the process of ushering their senior students out the door and into the rest of their lives.  Many graduation ceremonies will be held with commencement addresses uttered to students and guests who are really just waiting for a name to be called and diploma awarded.

When Lyn was born, it was quickly evident that she was different from the rest of us.  Mom clued in and had to go through a grieving process for a child who would not meet the goals we hold in our hearts for our children.  A few years later, Lyn was enrolled in a pre-school which started her on a path towards receiving an education tailored to meet her needs.  She wasn't going to master the basics of math or sciences.  She wasn't ever going to diagram a sentence or even understand what the word "gerund" means.  However, she would be given the opportunity to learn as much as she could to the best of her abilities.

Some of the classes provided Lyn with daily living skills such as how to pay for an item, wash her clothes, catch a bus and maintain a job.  Some of her classes placed her in mainstream classrooms.  In those, her main task was not necessarily to learn the material being taught; but to learn to interact with the world around her.  Those classes also provided opportunities for the regular students to learn how to interact with individuals with disabilities.

During my junior year of high school, our family moved to Montana where Lyn and I finished up high school and graduated.  The school system there was not fully prepared to deal with an intellectually disabled student.  In New Mexico, Lyn would have graduated at age 21.  In Montana, the school system was upset that Lyn was over 18 and still in school.  Mom had to fight to keep her in school otherwise they would have graduated her at the end of the year we moved up there.  Lyn would have been 19 and shorted 2 years of education.  The school system ultimately agreed to work with Lyn for only 18 months, splitting the difference.  This resulted in the two of us graduating together.

Lyn was the person right in front of me in the commencement line.  I've always been proud of that fact.

Lyn got to walk for her diploma just like the rest of our graduating class, all 43 of us.  Lyn got to switch her tassel from right to left and wear the robes just like the rest of us.

She was photographed and fussed over.  A graduation cake had her name on it along with mine.  She was excited and proud.

Don't ask.  I don't remember what prompted the synchronized Look.  I just know that this picture cracks me up.


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