We were so happy to be able to share her special day with her on her graduation day! She worked so hard for her degree and did it in record time while holding down two jobs!
Her graduation ceremony was held in the University Of Hawaii auditorium. There were 1500 graduates this day! It took an hour just to read off all of the names!
In this picture, you can see that they are STILL filing in. It was a literal sea of green. Very hard to find your child in all of this. It felt a little like playing the game "Where's Waldo".
Can you spot the beach ball that was being tossed around as they waited for the program to start?
There's our girl!
The big moment has come! The culmination of four long years of hard work is rewarded!
I wish I was able to make this picture bigger - she is standing with her diploma in hand - waving at us. I wish you could see the look of pride on her face!
What a great day!
"S" had quite the schedule set for herself while we were visiting her in Hawaii. All of it was carefully itemized in her day planner that she kept with her at all times. She had several family members that flew in to be with her this week.
Her Mom, Her dad and me, her aunt and uncle, her grandmother and her best friend from high school. She planned out her week making sure that she was able to spend time with each of us equally. She also finished up her work schedule - her last week working at the aquarium as well as finished up two end of the year reports and she had a big final test at the school that took her hours to complete! We were all tired just watching her bustle around!
She was fortunate to work at the aquarium to gain needed experience for her degree. She was able to work with the Monk Seals. They were so cute! I know she will miss them when she leaves!
Here she is giving her daily presentation to the visitors.
She has helped train the seals and they always wait patiently for her arrival because it means feeding time for them!
"S" has also worked with dolphins! A few summers ago she was able to work in a program called "Dolphin Quest". She lived in a tent with others on the Big Island for a few months, and learned how to work with the dolphins. It was an apprenticeship program and she wasn't paid for it. It was strictly for learning purposes - but she had so much fun doing it! The pictures are on my hubby's computer - I will share them with you one day.
I know that the college experiences that "S" has been able to enjoy will be missed. She was able to take diving lessons and swim in the deep open waters of Hawaii. She has taken beautiful pictures of fish while out there as well as of a few sharks off in the distance! This girl is fearless!
During our visit, my husband was able to take a day to go scuba diving with "S". I am glad that they had the opportunity to have one-on one time alone with each other. This time will be cherished between the two of them for years to come I am sure! "S" spotted a large Barracuda off in the distance as her dad and her were swimming - yikes! I really had no desire to go into waters that sharks or barracudas live in - I am such a sissy! :-)
They were also able to go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of Hanaumu Bay as I showed you pictures of in this post.
One of the last hikes that "S" took us on during our time with her, was on the way to the airport. It only took us a few minutes to get there and was so incredibly beautiful!
We slathered on the bug spray and traveled into the dense tropical surroundings. It was so quiet and peaceful!
The bamboo "forest" was huge!
We came out of the darkness to this beautiful setting. An old house that has fallen to ruins - yet still very well maintained.
This is an old summerhouse of King Kamehameha III and his queen Kalama. It was completed in 1845 and was used to entertain foreign celebrities and the feasting of chiefs and commoners. The greatest of these was of a luau that was attended by an estimated ten thousand people celebrating Hawaiian Restoration Day in 1847.
We took so many fun pictures of this place!
It was hard to leave because when we left here we had to say our goodbyes and make our way back home again.
I enjoyed this time with our daughter so much. I had the privilege of raising this beautiful girl for 7 short years before she went off to college. During that time we weren't that close. It was very hard for her to be away from her mother who lived in a different state - as well as being far from her father at times - who was in the Navy back then and would leave on a submarine for months at a time. Many years and growing pains later we come to the present time and I am overjoyed to say that as she continues to grow, our relationship is as I have always wanted it to be. I can finally call this beautiful girl my friend and even though I have loved her since the day I set eyes on her - I actually believe now that she knows it and takes it for what it is - the love and pride of a woman who wasn't trying to replace her mother, but love her as a stepmother and friend.
We are so very proud of you "S"! We are so happy for the big adventures that we see ahead for you in this life. We are so glad that you used your time well and that you are now reaping the benefits of all of your hard work.
Way to go girl!