Saturday, December 20, 2008

Graduation: Bringing People Together - The Tribute

This past week has been one of the greatest in my life. Approaching commencement, I grew increasingly nervous about being the center of attention. I am a person who loves recognition for the accomplishments I produce - period. For the past four years, most major events have centered around the kiddos. I continually pull the masses together to celebrate them.

I have obviously graduated from various scholastic accomplishments before - though the entire concept was an obscure symbol which meant little to nothing to me. I guess I just don't get the ritualistic phenomenon. I swear I was not born a hippy - it just came naturally with age.

After reading this, perhaps my irreverant graduation announcement is begginning to make a little more sense. For the record:

*I am not a Catholic Sister (by any means!)

*I am not Catholic (by any means!)

*I am not Pregnant (that's a PROMISE!)

I attended Regis, a Jesuit Catholic University, because the College for Professional Studies appealed to me. I would not have suffered through traditional college as a mom - I just would have never done it if I had to attend classes everyday and sit with a bunch of little rich kids concerned about their nights being wild enough. Gosh, I feel ancient! So CPS gave me a fast-track, and allowed me to be home with my family, only attending class 1-2 evenings a week. Granted, each course required 20-35 hours of homework per week, but at least I was home.

Alas! I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, as funny as it is to say...I'm proud of myself!

I decided to do the whole "walking" ;-) thing because this is IT! I worked incredibly hard to accomplish this degree, and I have absolutely no desire to continue my education formally.

Still, I struggled with the ritualistic aspect of commencement, clear up to two days prior to the ceremony. My dear friend, Lori, occasionally much wiser than I ;-*, laid it out like this: The ceremony is just that, a ritual. The wonderful thing about ritual is that it brings people who love you together. I thought about this, and yes, indeed some of my dearest and truest friends were traveling, not to watch me take the diploma cover from Father President (and drop the damn thing!), but to share in my pride, and show their love for me.


Meet Lowell and Julie

Lowell points out my name on the graduation program!
These two youngsters have been in my life longer than anyone at my festivities! Lowell was my independent living instructor when I transitioned from nursing home to independence in January 1998. His grooviness kept me outta a lotta trouble, and he and his vibrant wife, Julie, kinda took me under their wing until I fled for Big Sky Montana. As I left, Lowell said, "You'll be back. I bet'cha within ten years!" A wise hippy he is! Seven years! - Frew, glad I fullfilled his prediction! I came back as a team of five (Sophie included), and Julie and Lowell are a part of our daily lives! My favorite thing about them is they have a crazy ability to love without passing judgement!

Meet Dustin and Tammy
Met in 1999, married in 2003, and still best friends today :-) Need I say more?!

Meet Lori

Ms. Lori is one of my bestest friends. We met in 2001 while serving as Americorps*VISTAs at the Disabled Rights Action Committee. Probably unlikely friends, I am a strict soldier; Lori's a very resistent soldier, A.K.A. Rebel! LOL! At one point, I was even her supervisor...we have been through a lot together! Our relationship blossomed post DRACian-era, as I began to settle as wife and mommy. I can't imagine my life without this Buffy-lover (yuck!) now! I love Slayermouse to death, and Lori is part of our family. Technically she lives in Salt Lake, but she does have her own room in our home!

Meet Chantee
It was love at first bath! We met in 2002, she was a CNA for a Home Health company, and I stole her away. Chan was my lesbian lover (LOLOL inside joke!), best friend, roomy, assistant, maid of honor, birthing assistant, and my accomplice (according to her ever-so-worried Mother!). Some of my fondest memories include Chantee, as well as some of my most disgusting memories (I'm soooooo sorry I looked like a dying green whale at your wedding!) I dumped Chan for Dustin, and she then dumped me and Dustin for a guy name "Pugsley" Pugh ;-).
Bottom Line: I love this Chica, and if Dustin and I croak, she is the Baby Mama of our children.
It has been very hard, at least on me, being so far away from her. One of the three highlights of my grad weekend was we got alone time! We are still lesbian lovers!

Meet Grandpa Cutler
What do you say about a dude like Grandpa Cutler?! I met him in 2002 - he was the Bishop of an LDS ward for Single Young Adults. His unconditional love for me and my family makes him Grandpa Cutler. He, his wife, and his family adopted me and each new member of my family. I love being around him, and wish we could be around him more - he just makes us feel good! It's funny, you might think he's some kind of strict old judgemental fogie because he is a Bishop, but we know otherwise. He's pretty darn hip, and we love him.

Meet Grandma Cutler Not the best picture of her (again!), Grandma Cutler is a one of a kind lady that everyone just wants to know! We love her so much, and she is a hoot. She can be so silly, and has made me almost wet my pants many times! I guess because you don't neccessarily expect her to mistake baby poo for spilt chocolate and eat it, etc, etc. I'm laughing so hard right now as I type this! I'm sorry!! LOLOL!
The Cutlers were another highlight of my weekend...They were flying in from Vegas the morning of my graduation, got snowed in at SLC airport, and after several hours waiting, flew into Denver. They missed me getting my empty diploma cover, but they were there to give me huge hugs when it was all over! They came for me - that's all I cared about! The following night, when getting together didn't work out, Benny was devastated...That touched my heart. :-( But we will see them soon!

And last but certainly not least...
Meet Kim A.K.A. "Mee-maw"
Though it definitely felt like I knew this lady since I met Chan, I honestly don't remember really meeting Kim until June, 2003, at our open house (wedding), held in her backyard, which she threw! I kid you not! Chan convinced her mom to throw the event for us because we moved our wedding up a month, and lost our original venue. This is hilarious because I was under the impression that Kim thought I was the Crip Devil - enticing her daughter to be crazy, leave home (to our apartment!) and travel! When I got knocked up, Kim and I fell in love (huuuge love triangle! ;-) and Kim transformed into Mee-Maw, adopting our family. Mee-Maw is the grandma my kids know most intimately - meaning it's much more real to them than not. Mee-Maw tended both kids regularly, but especially Benny, as a grandmother. She loves to spoil them, and hates to return them (usually!). "Mee-Maw lives over the mountain," and our lives seem to revolve around the kids visiting Mee-Maw. Mee-Maw this, Mee-Maw that.......WE LOVE THAT MEE-MAW! And she loves us enough to get on the dang plane, fly over those big mountains just to see us! Someday she might even forgive me for leaving "the Great Valley"! ;-)We sure miss her!!!

I had a bowling party; it was freeeeeeeeeeezing, the roads were icey and it was just a miserable day to leave the house. Notwithstanding, all of us that were able to make it to the party, had a blast! My children are natural bowlers; we are definitely destined to be a bowling family! Destiny bowled a 92 and an 104, with Benny not too far behind! Benny started our rolling the ball, then he advanced to throwing it like everyone else.

I must say, the thing that truly made the bowling party for me was the arrival of two of my closest friends, Robin and Laura. I was so sure that they wouldn't be able to come because of the awful ice. BUT THEY CAME!!!!!! and it meant sooooooooooooooooooooo soooooooooooooooo much to me!!!!!!!!!!!! Unfortunately, I have no pic to post LOL!

So many friends sent their blessings to me, and I do declare to have the greatest friends on earth!

Here is a complete album from the weekend...
Graduation Weekend


Dustin said...

Thank You to Ken Cutler, who saved our after graduation dinner by getting everyone to the Denver Diner via 3 bicycle taxi carts. That was a fun, interesting, and memorable way to travel.

a.j.heilmann said...

CONGRATULATIONS TAMMY! Alex and I are so sad we were on the other side of "the pond" for your big exciting day, but we are sending you mental hugs!!

Have a wonderful Christmas or "god jul" as they say here, and a happy new year "gott nytt år"!!! Try not to miss us too much ;) See you in 2009! wow...

Holly G said...

Yeah, Tammy! (and Dustin!!) --You're an amazing family. I loved seeing pics of the beloved Cutlers.

Anonymous said...

Tammy. you ROCK! You're such a positive change agent!! Love you!