Some of the most meaningful presents don’t come from a store. For one young woman who graduated from high school last week, her graduation gift from her father cost only a few dollars at a store 13 years ago — but what he’s done with it over the years will make it priceless to her.
I don’t know the woman’s name, but she told her story by posting pictures of herself and the gift from her father on Thursday. Since then, it’s been seen by more than 4 million people.
The story starts when she started kindergarten. Her father bought a copy of the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” and he’s kept it a secret all these years. Without her knowing about it, the father has been getting every teacher, principal and coach who knew her along the way to write about her at the time they were dealing with her. I’ll let her tell her own story:
I graduated high school this week. When my dad said he had a present for me, I thought I was getting some cheesy graduation card. But what I received was something truly priceless. Following the ceremony, he handed me a bag with a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss inside. At first I just smiled and said that it meant a lot and that I loved that book.
But then he told me, “No, open it up.” On the first page, I see a short paragraph written by none other than my kindergarten teacher. I start tearing up but I’m still confused. He tells me, “Every year for the past 13 years, since the day you started kindergarten, I’ve gotten every teacher, coach and principal to write a little something about you inside this book.”
He managed to keep this book a secret for 13 years, and apparently everyone else in my life knew about it! Yes, the intended effect occurred. I burst out in tears. Sitting there reading through this book, there are encouraging and sweet words from every teacher I love and remember through my years in this small town. My early teachers mention my “pigtails and giggles,” while my high school teachers mention my “wit and sharp thinking.” But they all mention my humor and love for life. It is astounding to receive something this moving, touching, nostalgic, and thoughtful.
I can’t express how much I love my dad for this labor of love.
I don’t have children yet, but I hope that when I do, I’ll have the presence of mind to do something similar to this. It’s a great idea. It took a loving father to care enough about what would mean something to his daughter in the future to meticulously do this 13-year project. I hope I can be that good a father in this respect.