Once upon a time an angel named Jessica came into my life.
She graduated from high school today.
Her dad dropped out of sight when she was six months old.
But that was his loss. I'm the one who got to set her up
on the counter at the 7-11 and show her off
when I'd stop by for a morning coffee.
And I'm the one who took her to her first day
at pre-school, as well as to elementary school.
I'm also the one who drove her to all her soccer
and basketball games when she was in junior high.
And I'm the lucky guy who got to take her to Disneyland,
Sea World, and even to Catalina Island on her 11th birthday.
And how well I remember holding her close on her first rollercoaster ride.
When she started high school four years ago
I told her (only half-jokingly) that I'd have to get
a part-time job there - to keep an eye on her.
Her reply, naturally, was, "Don't you dare!"
But I also spotted her a couple of weeks later when
she nudged a friend and pointed my way with a smile.
"See that teacher?" she asked. "That's my grandpa."
As she stood with her peers this evening on the
football field at Fallbrook High, her mom asked
if I was going to yell when her name was called.
She was disappointed when I replied, "I'm not a yeller."
But, of course, I yelled right along with the others.
Maybe even louder.
I also cried.
To My Angel, Jessica Russell
I can't believe it's been four years -
and you've done it again.
(May 23, 2003 - Palomar College)
I am so proud of you!