Our only child graduates high school tomorrow. Wow! That happened fast!! I am not sure that I have really processed it all. Like most things, I probably will not until long after she crosses the stage. The good news is that she will spend at least the next year at home with us as she completes her core classes at the local community college while trying to discern her future plans. She has many talents and is gifted in the the arts. She is quite mature and definitely way more than I was at her age. I told her it is okay if she is not certain at this moment in time exactly what she wants to do. Many people who are “certain” change their minds or paths at least once. I did. I was going to be an English teacher, or so I thought. I even spent two semesters as an accounting major and never imagined I would land in healthcare which is right where I am supposed to be. So I told her, “Don’t sweat it. Our brains are not even fully developed until we are 25. Expecting that everyone has their life’s plan figured out by age 18 is not realistic.” Some may, but it is not requisite. Progress- that is the current goal , just forward movement and contemplative forward movement.
When she was baptized at age 8 she chose the scripture she wanted to share for her baptismal day. Some call this their life verse. I had no idea which scripture she had chosen until it was displayed with her picture on our church monitor. This is what she chose:
Show me your ways, Lord,Psalm 25:4-5
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
How appropriate a verse for even now. I pray she clings to this hope, promise and truth. Our God has a plan for her to employ the gifts he has bestowed upon her. I pray he guides and leads her path to where and how she will employ them.
I will enjoy this next year with her home with us as she continues to find her path. I hope to enjoy and seize the moments and keep nourishing her with life giving encouragement and mentorship. Her infancy was such a blur as I was in grad school, so I thank God that he has given me back some time. I aim to use it well. This will mean saying no to some good things so I can focus on some great things for this very brief season that will be gone even faster than these last 13 years. I know I will always be her parent, but this time with her in our own nest preparing her to take flight and soar is a very limited season. So I want to seize each moment.
In recent days leading up to this milestone I have inundated my social media pages with photos, memories, and a lot of nostalgic remembrances. I will show up tomorrow and enjoy the pomp and circumstance. I will cheer loudly when they say her name as she crosses that stage. This sweet girl is such an overcomer and tomorrow she will not only complete her 13 years of school, her 4 years of high school, and 21 hours of dual college credit, but she has overcome many obstacles. While she lived in full in her imaginative adventurous youthful years the transition into the teen years were challenging. She has endured the harsh slap in the face of puberty and some life events that led to esteem issues. She pressed on despite physical issues that at times we did not even understand and that had no name or diagnosis. She persisted despite mental health challenges that she downplayed because she did not want to burden others. She has overcome things I probably don’t even know about. So I celebrate every C just as they were A’s. I am as thrilled with her next step at community college as others would be with theirs going off to an Ivy League university.
What I think she has finally learned and perhaps life’s hardest lesson of all and it took me much longer to learn it that it has her is this- BE YOURSELF. LOVE YOURSELF. GOD MADE YOU FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY. Don’t apologize or feel bad for being different. It’s ok not to look like everyone else or live like everyone else as long as you never forget WHOSE you are- and you my precious child, my light from the Lord, are a daughter of the MOST HIGH and he has great plans for you and the best is yet to come!