Hello. First post here. I've lurked for a while and a friend suggested I post my story. Thanks for taking your time to read a noobs story. I'm not sure which way to begin telling this story. I thought of a few ways, so I think I'll share them all. What did you get on the day you graduated? A bunch of money, a car, a laptop, a fun night with friends? A shoebox? ..wait; a shoebox? I watch the show Everwood. One of the main characters in the show, Ephram, just graduated high school. Ephram lives with his father, because his mother died when he was younger. As a graduation present, Ephram was given a present that his mother made years before his graduation, for him to open incase something happened and she couldn't be there. The book Oh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. That seems morbid, doesn't it? Well I now know it was nothing of the sort, it was one of the most thoughtful and caring gifts a person could ever give. And now, my final introduction to the most special moment of my entire life. My first grade teacher assigned a project during my stay in her first grade class, eleven years ago. In May, before we finished the first grade, she assigned the class to create a time capsule project, where we would take a shoebox and fill it, with the help of our parents, with things we would like receive on the day of our graduation from high school. In May, eleven years ago, my mother was still alive. We would have to open this shoebox without her today. Saturday, the day of graduation started like every other day. My dad came in my room and rubbed my back and talked to me until I woke up. He handed me my cell phone and I called my girlfriend, Angelica to wake her up for the last time. I called her every school day to wake her. I showered, waited until the last minute to put my dress shirt, shoes and pants on. I was eager to get graduation done with. I wasn't ready for summer, or parties, I was ready for an old, worn shoebox I knew I had waiting on me at home. My dad probably thought I forgot about it, but the day before graduation I remembered I had a time capsule that needed opening the following day. We graduated, I walked, I moved my tassle to the right, all of that good stuff. My Dad, Brother, and Mimi all sat in the stands to cheer me on. For the first time in my life I felt like I made someone else proud and I had to hold back tears as I stood in line to walk across the stage. I remember my brother's hand, clenched into a fist raised in the air to cheer me on, and how big it made me smile, mostly on the inside, though. We went to a friend's house to eat lunch and talk and have a good time with old, old friends. I realized I could have made more money than I actually did if only I had sent out acknowledgements to my close friends, family and neighbors. We talked about my family, our plans for the night, and everything in between. I finally got what I wanted when I heard my dad say that he was ready to go. I was ready go to, too. The car ride home was an anxious one. We arrived and I acted like I didn't think anything was coming my way. I nonchalantly walked into the kitchen to get some water, and I was greeted with five or six envelopes that I would soon discover were packed tight with money. Money, boy was I excited. How unappreciative does that sound? My thoughts were elsewhere, money was filler. My dad asked me if I wanted to open up my time capsule. We got it out and my dad said that we should wait for my brother, he remembers making the time capsule and he'd like to see it opened. I sat in my chair and waited nervously, apprehensively. I saw my brother walk in the front door and I sat up like someone smashed a gong beside my head. My brother came straight back to my room and the immediate family and Angelica began to gather. I could feel my bottom lip shaking as I removed the tape from the top of the shoebox, I was still fearful of crying in front of everyone. I was then greeted with a roll of pennies, with wishes that I would invest them wisely, I was greeted with a rolled up piece of paper adorned with outlines of my then hands and feet, and a string that I once held in my hands and stretched down to my toes to measure my height. It was fun to look at these and realize how much I had grown, but this was all shoebox filler. I had my sights set on a little ziploc bag with envelopes addressed to me. I looked at an apron I made for my mom in class one day; attached to the apron was a note from my mom, written to me. It read: "Brian, This is the most special thing you have ever given me, you keep wanting me to wear it, but it'll get messed up if I do! So... we included it here, for safe keeping for the next ten years! I want it back!! Love, Mom" I found three blue ribbons from field days I had at Lowell Elementary (Lowell, NC). Attached, was a note that read: "Brian, I thought you'd like to have these, you won one in Kindergarten and two in first grade. I was proud of you then and I'm proud of you now! Love, Mom" By now, the family is crying, I can no longer read the notes aloud, I can barely speak without crying harder. Finally, I open the smaller white envelope addressed to me. I am, with more happiness than I could put into words, greeted with two pieces of paper, a letter. A letter to me, written by my mother, a letter that she wrote and knew we would open together on the day of my graduation. A letter, written by my mother, a person I hadn't communicated with in ten years. Today that finally was allowed to change. My mother, with more wisdom that I can fathom, on Sunday, May 22nd, 1994, wrote: "My dearest Brian, For you, this has been a good Sunday, uneventful, but good. Your dad and I took you to a park for a picnic. It was eventful for us. As we sat over the river, we tried to get you to smile, because we had noticed your smile had changed. As you fed the ducks, you smiled and you laughed, what a beautiful smile. Every day we celebrate your childhood. Today with another new smile, another new laugh we're here with you to celebrate a new beginning! I know you must be proud, as you should be. A new world is awaiting you! Grab it, it is yours! Anything you want, you should surely have. With your kind heart, your lust for life and your strong determination for life you will have what you strive for... no matter what it may be! Today, in 1994 you're so young and innocent, it makes me wish you could always be this age and never grow up, but you are my baby now in 1994 as you are now, a graduate! Take each day as it comes and with a grain of salt, try to keep a good attitude, be positive and believe in yourself! You can do or be anything you want to be. Anything you decide to do with your life can be done, with hard work and patience! Although, sometimes, you'll wonder, "Can I do it?" Dont ever forget... believe in yourself! If you want something bad enough you can do it! As you're graduating from high school I still see you as an infant, a seven year old and today as a young man, but I will always see you through the eyes of love. I love you Brian! With all my heart and soul, Mom Congratulations!!!" I read this to myself as my family watched, and I could do nothing but cry. Tears flowed down my face as I looked up, and my dad hugged me, crying. I had not seen my dad cry since the day we found that my mom had died. I made eye contact with my brother as I cried and I saw he was crying too and I broke down, and told him to hug me. We shared something, we both knew what it felt like to have a mother stolen away. If there were a way to save moments from one's life, I would save that hug. I'll step foot in my elementary school for the first time in 8 years sometime this week. My father and I want to thank my first grade teacher for changing my life, for having the wisdom to assign such a project. She introduced me to the person my mother really was, because, before that day, I knew of my mother, but when I read the notes and letter addressed to me, I was able to finally meet my mother and see what she was like. I will thank my first grade teacher this week for introducing me to my mother. CLIFFS: My mother died 10 years ago and for my graduation present I opened a box full of stuff to me from her, VERY emotional moment.