She’s graduating high school. She’s done. It’s arrived. And you couldn’t be more proud and you couldn’t be more emotional and you couldn’t be more shocked that your little baby girl is wearing a cap and gown.

My baby. My daughter. The best human I know. She loved school from the moment she started. Never wanted to miss a day. Never liked to stay home if she was sick. Never said the words that I said most of my young adult life, “I hate school!”.

No. This child absorbed it to the fullest. Even when she wasn’t thrilled with a teacher (which was rare). Even when she didn’t get the “part” she hoped for in a school show. Even when she felt overwhelmed with homework, struggled with math, or didn’t get enough sleep — this child, my child, loved school. Loves school.

She loves learning. Growing. Questioning. Exploring. Reading. And, yes, writing. She is a far better writer than her mom.

She made friendships that are deep, meaningful, intimate, loyal, and will no doubt be in her life forever.

She challenged herself — never taking the softer, easier path. She retained information because she was present. Truly present. She respected her teachers and created bonds with them. She did her homework without ever being pushed.

Am I bragging? You bet your ass I am. I’m so proud of her. So inspired by her. So in awe of her.

She navigated her way through school with grace and dignity. She didn’t succumb to peer pressure, didn’t gravitate towards trouble, stuck close to her posse that stuck close to her. They watched out for each other and remained true to who they were.

Kind. Empathetic. Wise. Humorous. Brave.

She cares about the climate, women’s rights, racial injustice, decency, honesty, humanity.

She reads all the time. She paints. She plays. She doesn’t need to be the center of attention ever and, in fact, recoils from it.

She celebrates life, loves her family, cares about animals. Talks to snails.

She’s a good person. A level headed person. An interesting person.

An educated person.

A standing ovation for you, my beautiful child. A standing ovation.

I can’t wait to see what you do in college. In this world. The future is so very lucky to have your voice.

I love you.