college graduation

Christopher in clothes basketChris in bootsA little boy I once knew, who is no longer little, is graduating from college today. How can it be? The years have literally flown by. He was the child who first made me a grandmother. My little Christopher Todd Petersen, who arrived on his great grandmother, Joann Schulenberg’s birthday, changed my world…adding such a wonderful new dimension to it. My heart was filled with joy.

Chris had such a cute smile, and he made the cutest faces. He soon wowed us with his ability to make all the animal sounds on demand, and made us laugh as he emptied out any box or basket of its contents so he could climb in a sit a while. He was all boy…and the culture shock I had never experienced before, because I had daughters…well, believe me when I say, “Boys are very different from girls!!” I don’t mean just physically, but in every aspect of their being, from the physical…to their personalities. Nevertheless, having three grandsons and one granddaughter has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life, a blessing beyond words.
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Fast forward now, a little over twenty years, and suddenly that little boy is graduating from college. His dream is to own his own restaurant, and who knows, maybe even a chain of them. He is graduating as one of the top of his class from the Culinary School at Sheridan College. Even that seems like it flew by. Literally, it seems like yesterday that he headed off to college, calling home often to tell everyone just how homesick he was, and now he emerges…a man, with a degree. He is a chef…not a cook…a chef, with all the respect that goes along with that title. He has made good friends in Sheridan, and for now, has decided to stay there to live and work in a fine dining restaurant called Open Range which is located in the historic Sheridan Inn. Chris loves working there and tells us his coworkers are great.

He is living his dream. He has been very blessed to be able to work in such a restaurant before his degree work is even complete, and today Open Range becomes very blessed to have a chef working for them who has earned his degree, and brings with him the prestige that his degree carries with it. With his skill level imageimageand attention to detail, Chris will be bringing with him a level of recognition that Open Range can be proud of. It is a win-win situation for both of them. Chris has really taken to the style of creativity that is vital to fine dining, and he will be showing that great skill level to the people who live in and visit Sheridan in the future. Congratulations Chris!! Your hard work has paid off. We, your family and friends are so very proud of all your accomplishments. We wish you God’s very best in all your future endeavors!! We love you very much!!

Amy's new doMy girlsWhen your children move away, you look forward to every trip they make home. The further the distance from their home to yours, the longer the time between visits. For our daughter, Amy Royce, that means almost a year since she was last in Casper. Bob and I have been out there, but our daughter, Corrie Petersen and her family have not. For them it has been a full year since they saw Amy. Corrie is no stranger to having a loved one living away from home, because her son, Chris Petersen, has been living in Sheridan, Wyoming, going to college for two years now. He graduates this year, but has decided to stay in Sheridan. We miss him very much, and love it every time he comes home…which thankfully, is more often than Amy and her family are able to. Nevertheless, this is the first time in her life that it has been a year since Corrie last saw her sister, and it has been hard. I think that in reality, it doesn’t matter who you are, when your loved one is far away, it is an emotional time.

As I said, we have all been looking forward to having Amy home for a week. She has made the trip for my grandson, her nephew, Chris Petersen’s college graduation, so it is time to celebrate both events. She will also be visiting with her friends here in town too, and I know that they are all excited about that. Her event calendar is very full already, and finding time to squeeze everything in gets more complicated by the minute, but…Amy’s coming home…so we will deal with the rest. A complicated schedule is minor in the grand scheme of things, and I suppose I do have to share her with her friends…at lease a little bit.

I think that the person who has probably had the most difficult time…here anyway, is my granddaughter, Shai. Yes, she has been to Washington to see her family several times, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are Amy & ShaiAmy and Carynso far away, and she misses them so much. Shai and I work together, and I have walked up to her desk several times to find her wiping away a tear. It broke my heart, because I can’t stand to see one of my kids or grandkids hurting so much. Of course, with her move to Washington coming up quickly, those tears of missing her family will be gone, and while I will miss her terribly, I know in my heart that is is best for her, so I’ll be happy for her. And in reality, while my kids and grandkids might move away, I know that they know the way back home, so they will all be coming home now and then.

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