I sat in a large auditorium a few nights ago. I was impressed with the music, the atmosphere…well, the entire thing really. I kept wondering how we got to this point – graduation day for my daughter. And so I started reflecting on all the milestones we’d already reached to get to that point. As I did, my mind kept turning to all the people who have gone down this road before me. How many have experienced this and every other milestone before and after it? What was it like for them? My parents, grandparents, they all know this experience, this feeling. They know what comes next too.
This was my first child’s graduation, and there’s something about life’s “firsts” that just make you slow down and take it in. Again, I thought about this process of progression. When it’s all said and done, what will the exit stage experience be like? Will it be a graduation of sorts? What will I have to show for my time here? Will I be worthy of honors? My mind raced.
And then the reality that my daughter had reached this milestone in her own life hit me, and the tears followed. Where’d my baby go? I remember her at Jaimee’s age just like it was yesterday. Wasn’t it yesterday?! I blinked and she’s a beautiful, confident and oh so capable adult. She’s turned into an amazing individual, and she’s just beginning. She’s taken all that feisty energy and channeled it into a quiet strength that leaves me breathless. I applaud her willingness to be true to herself, for her ability to work hard. She has no pretenses, and hiding is not in her vernacular. She is what she says she is, she does what she says she’ll do. As she’s grown, this trait has brought more than a few rounds of enemy fire, because she’s such an easy target. How grateful I am that she’s not let it change her. She is still willing to take the hits for being true to what she knows is right. I am so proud of her for the personal integrity to not pretend, no matter what others may think or how they may judge. She’s always been that way. And for that reason, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for life, and what life has in store for her.
I can’t help but post two pictures of me with her because if you knew her like I do you’d know they both tell the same story: “Oh, I hate this thing I’m wearing!”
So here’s to milestones. The ones met, the ones yet to come. Bring it.