A letter to my daughter on her “would have been graduation day”… Never Ever and Always

I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

Maya Angelou
Miranda…your name is of Latin origin and means “worthy of admiration”.

A letter to my daughter Miranda,

Never Ever could I imagine that I would write to you on your “would have- could have- should have been” graduation day…

Today is the moment for which you have waited . Sapphire robes trimmed in gold and layered with a white honor’s stole. Braided cords draped around your neck, symbols of committing to excellence when you would have rather been binging Netflix or crashing the best bonfires (which, by the way, you did anyway).

Today is a day when our big Cuban-Italian family would have argued about parking spaces at the fairgrounds, talked trash about the heat outside and security check-ins, saved seats for family members who are never on time, and snapped pictures for FaceBook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram. The same family who would have annoyed the hell out of you, sneaking down on the platform to make you step out of line to take another photo of you, with you. You would have rolled your eyes. You would have said “Mother, stop! You are embarrassing me!”

Today is the day I would have cried as I heard the entry notes of Pomp and Circumstance begin to play, only for Joe to talk over the building crescendo to explain to me the history of the song, significance of every graduation recorded in time, and design the sheet music on your program. I would have “shhhhhhhhed” him and sobbed to the beat of the music.

Today would have been your graduation day. Your moment awarded to your brothers, sisters, cousins before you. The moment you have experienced as a spectator and cheerleader for so many others. Today was your moment. You see- as the youngest child in the family, you have endured many sporting events, band performances and graduations. Now that it is your turn, the family has grown and moved away, but they were prepared to be present for your moment. Only a pandemic would keep them away!


Today we celebrate differently. You will wear your cap and gown for the first time in the parking lot of your high school. We will join Durant High School’s clap-out and take pictures from our vehicles as car horns substitute for the orchestra playing. Many of our family members will not be there due to distancing and health, but they will be celebrating for you in their hearts. I am grateful that our school is providing us with this consolation which we will turn into celebration.

Miranda and friends getting ready for the senior parade!

Today I reflect on your years as a student, dancer, and supporter of every student athlete for whom you made me by a shirt! Your senior year hit the pause button in March. It sucked. We cried. We grieved. We then looked to the future. What is passed cannot be recovered, but it can be harnessed. The missed moments will collect within you and serve as rocket fuel , remembering you survived and thrived as a senior in 2020. How blessed is our society to have you enter as a game changer, dream changer, life changer! We need you.

Let all of the missed proms, dances, award ceremonies, baseball games, student council meetings, graduation parties, yearbook signings, and college tours inspire you and defeat any doubt that lingers about your resilience and determination. Just remember this little phrase: Never Ever…Always.

  • Never Ever miss a moment : Always be present for every second of your life
  • Never Ever postpone a dream : Always remember “life loves the liver of it” -Maya again 🙂
  • Never Ever believe you cannot reimagine or reinvent yourself : Always know that you- control- you
  • Never Ever give up : Always get up, everytime you fall, even if you limp
  • Never Ever accept the word “no” : Always find the yes

Never Ever did I imagine I would write to you on your would have- could have- should have been graduation day. So, I am putting bullet 3 into action!

Today we reimagine graduation day! Today we celebrate all that “is” instead of mourn all that “wasn’t”. Today is your first step into the journey of the next stage in life.

Reimagining graduation…driving in trucks under the DHS 2020 cranes instead of walking across a stage.

Never Ever think you are alone. For you have me, Always.

Happy “Graduation” Day! I am so proud of you. Look for me in the red car. Honk! Honk!


Mommy, Ma, Mother, “Bruh”.

Members of Durant High School, FL, Class of 2020

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