May 11, 2007

Amanda Silvia

My wife, tu Tia Maggie, likes to say that you're a female version of me, an idea I carry with much pride, yet I know the truth of the matter is that you are so much more. Sure, I see glimpses of me in you - when you wear your heart on your sleeve; when you display a little sass; when we're both in a room full of people and know, if we happen to look into each other's eyes, that we're both thinking the exact same thing. I did, after all, do more than just teach you how to swim. I like to think I played a small hand in raising you. Our differences, though, are more than apparent.

Whereas I can truly say my childhood was ideal, yours, at times, was anything but. Whereas I can say that I lived the better part of my youth free of adversity, you, at times, lived through many. Whereas I can say that my life can be measured in unreached goals, you, on the other hand, can measure yours in achievements and accomplishments.

Today marks the day of one of those accomplishments. One more goal -where your drive and determination far exceeded mine - that you'll have reached, conquered, that I did not. Today, after years of hard work, after years of sacrifice, years of pushing yourself sometimes to the limit, Amanda, my Goddaughter, you will walk down the aisles of the Convocation Center at the University of Miami, robed and tassled, and take those few steps up to a stage where you will be handed the fruit of your labor, a diploma well earned. Today my Goddaughter graduates from the University of Miami.

It may not seem like an uncommon accomplishment, finishing college. After all, thousands and thousands of kids graduate college every year and in their lives that is no small achievement. But you, my Goddaughter Amanda, had no crutches to lean on for your studies. You took no financial aid, there was no endowment for study from your family, you didnt get to live the typical student's life free of all responsibilities save for academics. No, my Goddaughter Amanda, you did it on your own terms, with your own responsibilities and your own priorities. You made the sacrifices. You did all the work. You had the courage and conviction. And you, you made no excuses. Despite the sacrifices, despite the hard work, despite the setbacks and strides, you, your spirit and your smile never wavered.

Today, as you walk down that aisle at the University, you do so as a woman of many successes. That piece of paper you'll receive today is but the cherry atop the sundae that is your beautiful life. A sundae scooped of a very proud and supportive family, a successful career, a welcoming home, a loving husband and sprinkled on top with two beautiful children. That, Amanda, is no small accomplishment.

You may not remember your great grandparents, my grandparents, that well. Your memory of them may be limited to brief glimpses and old photographs, perhaps a story written or a story told. But as I sit here and type these words through tears, your great grandparents, my grandparents, "Los Primos", are alive in me. And their pride in you is unwavering and magnificent. Their happiness unrelenting and breathtaking. Their love never ending and perfect.

Were they here with us today - Oh, to have them here with us today! - their joy, their pride, would gleam from their eyes and beam from their smiles. Today, Amanda, this day of yours, would most certainly be the day of days for Brandon and Matthew's great great grandparents. (I can imagine them swelled with pride and doting over those two beautiful boys just like they doted over their little pelucita peliroja.)

So, too, would be the sentiments of your Tia Abuelas that have passed. Tu Tia Amanda, whose name you carry and whose eyes whisper at the top of this blog. Y tu Tia Mary, who loved you, like she loved me, as her own. There is much of them in you. You have Tia Amanda's heart and you carry Tia Mary's cariƱo.

Today, Amanda, remember your Tias and Abuelos and where they came from. The steps you take today, those steps up to that stage, these last few steps after all the sacrifices, are but a continuation of the path they began for you with their own sacrifices. Yours is a journey of dreams and today, today you make another one come true.

Congratulations on your graduation, Graduate Goddaughter Amanda!

Your future journey holds many stops at that sparsely populated and rarely visited little town called Dream Come True.

Posted by Uncle Val at May 11, 2007 9:20 AM | TrackBack


I love reading your uncle's blogs because he is so good with words. Of course, I always end up crying because they are so deep.

You've made it far and like your uncle says with no excuses...

Enjoy the fruit of your studies and I wish I could be there to see you walk across that stage to receive your diploma.

Posted by: Lilli at May 11, 2007 10:00 AM

Congratulations, Amanda! It's such a huge, huge thing to earn a degree, and I think it's absolutely wonderful for you!

Posted by: Helen at May 11, 2007 12:05 PM

Hi Amanda,
I posted Congratulations over at Babalu. But I think it's appropriate to do it twice. Your life, after all, seems to be full of "double blessings."
This will be your second "walk" to face your future.
(the first being on your wedding day)
I hope you savor every single step. Felicidades!

Posted by: Marta at May 11, 2007 12:12 PM

So which path will you tread next? I am so proud of you for this wonderful accomplishment. I could never have done it as a full-time wife, mom, and employee as well as a student...

I hope you have a shining wonderful day with lots of happy memories. All my love!

Posted by: caltechgirl at May 11, 2007 1:35 PM

Congratulations, Amanda! :)

Posted by: pam at May 11, 2007 4:40 PM
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