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Three years ago, I wrote about the value of a high school diploma. On this morning of Second Son’s high school graduation, I’m proud to say he was one of the students who decided to flip the bird at me and cross over to the other side of the room.

It’s nothing short of a miracle to me that this kid is graduating today, and a true testament to the power of deciding you’ve had enough bullshit in your life and you’re not going to let it keep you down.

Two years ago, had you told me I’d be going to his graduation today, I would have been mighty skeptical. He got ZERO credits for second semester of his sophomore year.

Last year at this time, I had almost no faith that we’d be going to graduation today, because he got ZERO credits for his entire junior year. But, the madness in his life had calmed down by then, and he told me, “Mom…I am so ready to get out of high school and graduate. You watch what I do this year. I’m graduating in the spring!”

And so he is. This afternoon. 3pm.

In the space of one school year, this kid did whatever it took to catch up credit-wise and grade-wise and I am so proud of him. It’s been iffy, right up until this week as to whether he’d really pulled it off, or not. But he’s had a great lesson in perseverance, determination, and staying the course that will serve him well the rest of his life.

This morning, I am acutely aware that the real value of his high school diploma is that it serves as a tangible reminder of his ability to climb up out of a very deep hole he’d dug for himself and overcome what I’m sure quite often looked to him like completely insurmountable odds of getting to this day.

Learning what you’re capable of is priceless.

Update: I think this picture says it all.