Life in General, Motherhood

Graduation: This Time Next Year

There’s a chill in the air on this early morn, but it’s been long-awaited so the chill doesn’t put a damper on their spirits.

It’s a day that’s been in the making for 13 years. Talked about. Anticipated. Yelled about again and again in anger over rules and guidelines, but the years of hard work will soon pay off.

The struggle is real. There’s been many late, sleepless nights of studying or staying out past curfew. What started out as pigtails and merry-go-rounds wound up to be much more reading than most enjoyed, much more writing than anyone really wanted to do. Playgrounds got switched for basketball or football camps. Nap times turned into math class or study hall.The days were spent moving up and down the social ladder, gaining friends, losing friends and fitting in somewhere. Many times, the days’ biggest decision was what shirt to wear with which shoes or who’s looking good in those jeans. Some days, the biggest accomplishment was staying awake during history class. Science test, big football game, dance competition…….just around the corner. Soon these will all be memories.

It’s a particular day that can’t get here quick enough for certain ones, but to some it’s bittersweet. This time next year, I will be attending my first graduation as a mother of a graduate. It’s a milestone for sure, one in which I feel just as any other parent feels, some sadness, some happiness, but a lot of pride for my graduate. It will be especially so beings he will be the first grand-youngin to graduate on both his dad’s side and mine of our families. After church a few days ago, I noticed the neighbors and other townsfolk preparing for the days’ festivities, their graduating seniors. Balloons and welcome signs adorned many driveways and front yards. Cars lined the streets as far as the eye could see, which isn’t far since the population in my town is around 400. Tables were set up on patios and in the garage entrances. Streamers billowed in the breeze.

Still in the midst of the childhood phase of life, he is still maturing, still listening to and learning the values of his parents, still growing into the man he will be someday. Soon enough he will make the transition from what we believe and what we have taught into the formation of his beliefs, stemming from ours, yet blossoming into his own. His values will become second nature to him. They will come out in all his decisions, his choices, his mistakes, and his successes. He has yet to really live in the world, but he gets closer with every day that passes. This time next year I will watch my son walk across the stage in his cap and gown, unaware of just how much his life is about to change, unsure of his future, probably feeling some of what I feel as his mother. Some sadness that these years are over. Much happiness that this part of his life is finally over. Possibly the same pride I feel except pride in himself (which is a little different from the pride of a parent). I will be taking part, this time next year, in my son’s graduation festivities.

As youngsters, it’s easy to love them because they want mommies and daddies. They want hugs and kisses and time on your lap. They want snuggles and band-aids and park days. As they grow, the snuggles get a little less, the band-aids become almost obsolete and they want park days, but with their friends not their parents. The kisses and hugs become infrequent, impossible even for some kids. They turn into teenagers who get mouthy, and stubborn, and think they know-it-all. They are full of attitude and sass and cussing makes them feel grown, but every-so-often, parents can still catch a glimpse of the little girl or boy their son or daughter used to be.

For the next year, I will relish my soon-to-be graduating senior. I will steal every hug that I can. I will watch his peaceful, sleeping face every moment I get the chance. I will take every ounce of conversation he can muster. I will greedily encourage him to stay home the weekend so I can just have more time with him. I will cheer for him at every game just a little harder than I have in the past. I will encourage him to decide on a college major or at least an idea of one. And finally, I will watch him shake the hand of the superintendent and the principal as he accepts his diploma. I will look at him to see the baby I gave birth to, the little boy I nudged into kindergarten and through grade school, and the teenager I argued with and cried over through middle and high-school. In my midst will be a fine young man with a heart of gold and not a stitch of fear standing before me. I know he will do great things with his life.

Even through my sadness, my tear-jerking moments, my failures, my accomplishments as a mother to him, I will know that I’ve done a wonderful job helping to raise him. I know I have to let go as the Lord tells me so:

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” – Psalm 127:3

…..but that doesn’t make it any easier. Then, my concerns plague me: Is he prepared enough? Did I teach him what he needs to know? Did I teach him enough to love others, to work hard, to stay committed?

Put those thoughts away dear child. You’ve done your very best.

Rest assured, when that special days comes, when he walks across that stage in his graduation garb, I will look on with sadness in my heart, but I will cheer for him with gladness in my soul. I am his number one fan ♥


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