Still setting the stage for Lily, so no Paul action for the foreseeable future.

...I'm not SM...

May: My College Graduation

"Way to go Lily!" I could hear the cheers and shouts as I crossed the stage and received my diploma from the dean of the college. This was the one good thing about having a large extended family; you always knew where they were in a crowd.

After the ceremony I made my way over to my family, stopping to take countless pictures with friends and teammates. The first person I saw was my sister Alyssa, who almost took me down with a hug.

"Damn shoes, I swear if I didn't love heels so much I would never wear them. And thanks so much for almost knocking me down by the way." I gave my sister a slight glare.

"Well it's not my fault you are so freaking clumsy and balanced challenged. You would think you are tall enough without the heels, but nooo you just had to wear them" My sister retorted.

"Whatever, you know you will try and take them the minute I look away." I was about to go on but my mother chose that minute to intervene.

"Girls! Can't we take you anywhere? I swear you act like a bunch of 5 year olds."

Got to love my mother, taking control of the situation in 2 seconds, and let me tell you, there is nothing like being chastised on my graduation day.

"Sorry Mom, I am a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of today, so please forgive me for falling back on familiar habits." As I said this I could see my sister rolling her eyes, but wouldn't you know it, it worked on my mom. Or not.

"Lily! Did you really think I was going to fall for that?" My mother asked.

"Well I kind of hoped that you would, seeing as I really am overwhelmed by the fact that I just freaking graduated from college!" Wow, saying that really had it sinking in. Terrifying really for those of you who have yet to reach the milestone. Wouldn't you know it but this time it actually worked on my mom.

"Oh Lil, I can't believe you just graduated, it seemed like only yesterday your father and I took you to your first day of kindergarten." Oh no, my mom was starting to tear up, never a good sign as I am a very sympathetic crier and already a little emotional about the whole situation.

"Mom do you think we can save the mother/daughter hugging and crying session for later when we aren't surrounded by 3,000 people?" I was really struggling to keep it together by this point.

"Of course, you are completely right. Where is you father? Your brothers? I can't leave them alone for 2 minutes." Another gift of my mother's was her ability to change the subject in about 2 seconds flat, definitely something I strive for.

"Annie is that you over there?" My dad was shouting. So embarrassing.

"I'm over here Chris" My mother of course shouted back.

You would think my father would be able to see us because with the exception of my mother, we were all taller than the average person.

My dad finally made it over to us and caught me in a bone-crushing hug. "Congratulations Lily. I can't tell you how proud I am of you, graduating college, it was just yesterday that"

"Dad, mom already brought up the kindergarten story, but thanks for the congrats, I couldn't have done it without you two." As I said these last words, I realized how true they were, and how lucky I was to have my parents for support in every decision I made.

My father looked sheepish, "Well it really does seem like only yesterday, now my girl has grown up."

Ok my father really knew how to get me and my mother crying, I think he was tearing up too. Here we are in the middle of a huge crowd trying not to cry too much, but obviously kind of failing.

My brother were happy to break up that touching little moment, "I haven't ever seen so many hot chicks in one place since well, ever." Jamie was the one who uttered this wonderful line, with an enthusiastic Nick nodding beside him.

I swear my brothers are fixated on only one thing these days, and that is definitely girls. At least they are older I guess, but I definitely didn't need to hear about all the 'hot chicks' around me.

"Thanks for breaking up the nice family moment we had going on over here asshole" I of course had to say something, even knowing what was about to come.

"Lily! We have already talked about this. All of you need to act your age and remember where we are at. I swear you are all acting like this is the first time you have ever been in a public place before, and frankly it is embarrassing." Like I said before, nothing like getting chastised by my mother on graduation day. At least everyone else looked a little shame faced after those words by mother.

"Well let's go everyone. We have a lunch to get to." Again, no one can shift gears and attitudes faster than Ann Hawkins.

The rest of the day was perhaps one of the most memorable times in my life. Laughter and togetherness are a potent package, and it is memories like these that strengthen the ties and deepen the love that I had for my family.

In the coming months it will be hard to look back on this day, one of those truly happy moments experienced by everyone in my family, and realize that this was one of the last times we would all be together in the same way.

….

So I hope you all liked this chapter and Lily and the rest of the Hawkins. I know that we aren't caught up to where the prologue is yet, but I don't want rush the story just to get to some better action.

Please let me know what you think. Thanks!