Celebrating Kelly … and cowering from the crowd

I can’t tell you how proud I am of my niece Kelly. But I’m going to try anyway.

Since she was just a wee little lass with those huge blue eyes and that Shirley Temple-esque curly blonde hair, that girl has been making me smile. Just like her brother and little cousin.

Those three are the sun, moon and stars on the Marinucci side of the house, capisce? #Fam

I digress.

Since becoming a young woman, Kelly, who’s also my goddaughter, has continued to make me proud. She’s also made me think … and reflect … and laugh. Like, a ton. This is a girl I’d befriend even if we didn’t share DNA. Ditto those two boys. Enough gushing but I think y’all get it. These kids are my life.

So of course I have shown up for her, her brothers and (I believe it goes without saying) my son, their bonus sibling, as often as humanly possible. Always will.

I went to her soccer games, music programs and track meets. I’ve been there for her baptism, first communion, confirmation and every birthday. I attended her high school graduation and college baccalaureate.

And naturally, I was there when she earned her Master of Accountancy degree last Saturday. Her grandma, parents and sweet little best friend (from age 3 on), my honorary niece, Marissa, and I were absolutely thrilled to be there for that big moment. #Beaming

We’d all arrived early to secure seats with an acceptable vantage point. There we were, perched atop the second row of bleachers in the upper section just right of the stage. It offered ample perspective of the entryway and the speaker podium.

By sheer luck, we wound up on the same side of the stadium as Kelly. SCORE.

But the thing about scoping out a decent set of seats early is … the ensuing joy which is waiting for the commencement’s commencement.

Sigh.

I learned that the venue holds 6,300 people, I swear my sister knew 6,272 of ’em. And they all considered sitting in front of us — then didn’t. Reason? The banners on the railing in front of Row 1 made the view similar to what a camel sees in the eye of a sandstorm, you dig?

So we watched dozens of families play a soundless round of musical chairs. Each time, folks would walk over, sit down and promptly vacate.

When one group failed to actually make contact with the wood, I shouted, “Time? I think we have our winner!”

That was all child’s play compared with the angry mob milling out front immediately afterward to pose for pics with their beloved new grads.

The masses got a big fat F in common decency as people jockeyed for position beneath blossoming trees or in front of the marquee. The pushing, the shoving, the bumping. It was like Black Friday at Walmart.

Shudder.

Some guy actually picked up a lady on a scooter and sent her careening into greater downtown area. Not really.

But I do owe my brother-in-law my life because he scooped me up from hitting the concrete after some rotten lady pulled a “Mean” Joe Greene move on me to get me out of her path. That one’s true.

I’d do it all again in a heartbeat for me girl.

You go set the world on fire, sweetie. You are strong and beautiful and smart and brave and AP loves you to the moon and back.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and proud aunt who’s in seclusion after nearly being pancaked. Check on her via www.patriciakimerer.com.

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