COVID can’t dampen the Human Spirit

We recently celebrated a significant, and joyous, occasion for our family. My daughter graduated from medical school and is off to start the next phase of her life’s great adventure. With the bestowing of the degree, she also gets promoted in the Navy (who has paid her tuition-something she will  repay in future service to the country). I could not be prouder of her.

The graduation was conditioned by the lingering effects of the Pandemic. The ceremony was virtual, but that allowed for family festivity. We celebrated the grand event at the home of her partner, who also graduated with Katie.

We listened to the speeches from the dignitaries and faculty, not from the rostrum but in a “Zoom-like” setting that has come to symbolize our relationships during our time of limited contact. It is rather odd to see the speakers in full headshot mode rather than as some distant disembodied voice from a faraway stage behind the mass of murmuring graduates.

As they worked their way through the conferring of degrees and the placement of the ceremonial hoods, we counted down until the girls’ names came up. We lined our daughter up by the big screen in order to capture her previously recorded award with the real live person. As Katie’s name appeared, she turned to watch herself on the screen. I missed the name. I missed the placing of the hood. Finally, after much cajoling, Katie turned to face the camera. At least I caught her hug from the faculty member and the back of her head. Good enough. We got a better shot of Megan (we were more prepared).

Throughout, there was an odd mixture of masked and unmasked participants, even though most (if not all) of the participants (as health care providers) were vaccinated. Despite the sometimes coverings, there was no “masking” the joy and exuberance on part of the conferees and conferrers in the videos. Actually, the process may have made it more personal. In some cases, relatives were able to preside over the awarding of degree and occasionally in a personally significant setting).

The COVID pandemic and the associated turmoil simply could not dampen the human spirit.

Another positive aspect of the modified ceremony was that we could have a champaign toast with the newly minted doctors in the comfort of the living room. There were many (toasts that is; the girls only graduated once). The hospitality that we received from Megan’s parents was overwhelming. It is wonderful to see an expanding family relationship.

Both doctors are now headed to Boston for residency. If you think our real estate market is hot, you should see the prices up there. They purchased a condo (for about the same prices as my home here). All things are relative. At least it is walking distance to the med center (and way better than their apartment in Baltimore).

Doctor. Military officer. Homeowner. Wow, my little girl has grown up.

I find no melancholy in that. We bequeath very little to this world (In fact the things we work so hard for in the temporal sphere are largely transitory). To the degree that we “leave” anything when we depart (other than some fleeting memories for our family and passing acquaintances), it is in our progeny.

Our children are the living embodiment of who we are, both genetically and personally. Often, they resemble us (My daughter probably got tired of hearing people say how similar we look-with good reason!). Frequently they act like us (although I am thankful my kids have forgone some of my less desirable traits). We hope they will make a contribution to humanity.

I believe with all my heart that my children (all five, including step-children) will find some way to leave the world a better place than they found it. And, with God’s grace, they will also leave someone (something) to their future as well.

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