Graduating and moving on to the next chapter

Our oldest grandchild, and only grandson, graduated from high school last week. Tristyn Erdman was a member of the 2022 Class of Zimmerman High School. We were not able to attend the graduation ceremony, which in my opinion is so unfair, but we watched the live-stream broadcast. All I could think about as he walked across the stage is how he is stepping into the unknown. 

That is how I felt on March 16, 2004 when Tristyn entered this world and made us brand new grandparents. We knew very little about grandparenting but we learned together along the way and it has been such a fun experience. 

I can somewhat document that journey from his birth to graduation through my weekly columns. I would write about the fun things we did together, the funny things he would say and do and always how proud we were of him with his honor rolls, great friends, and athletic achievements.

I tried to look through some of those memories and had a few that stood out to me. One of the first times we watched him, he enjoyed playing with an empty bottle and toilet paper roll more than all the toys we set in front of him. Tristyn and his cousin Jaedyn, spent one morning walking the shore of Lake Emily with me. We found all kinds of ‘treasures’ like funny looking sticks, unique rocks and even a few washed up fishing lures. We stopped occasionally for a short picnic lunch.The kids loved it and asked to do it again the next year. 

On the morning of his graduation a memory popped up on my facebook page. It was of Tristyn, his dad and grandpa heading out to fish on Lake Emily. It was such a great picture but later my husband said “that is the day Tristyn lost his brand new fishing rod and reel in the lake.” He caught a fish, got really scared and tossed the entire set up, fish and all, in the water.

I will never forget his first deer hunting outing, once again with three generations of hunters. He sat with his dad in a stand and was able to get a deer. There have been many more since but none are quite as memorable as that first one.

As he grew up into manhood, his toys have changed. He loved football and basketball. Enjoyed hunting and fishing. And yes he has had a few girlfriends. However, he was never too old to give us a hug every time we saw him. We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know his friends and welcomed many of them to our home. As the only grandson, he often invited someone along to be with at the lake or cabin. 

This journey has a happy ending and the joy of a new start for us. Tristyn will be going to college in Morris next year and live very close instead of several hours away. I hope he will feel comfortable to stop in, wash his clothes and have a meal with us. It will be very different to have him nearby but I can’t wait.

Over the weekend we celebrated his graduation and he was joined by so many who have shared the journey with him. It was wonderful to share some of his stories and accomplishments. I really enjoyed all of the pictures, especially when he was younger. But most of all, I enjoyed the big bear hugs that Tristyn gave us and his humble words of thanks. I can’t wait to see what his future brings.