I write a column for our local newspaper. Tonight I wrote this about Savannah's upcoming graduation. If you are local & read my column, you will see this coming up this week, but here's the blog-safe version. (with some info deleted for online safety!)
"I’ve been saying it for years. It seems like big milestones sneak up on you when you are busy raising children. People say ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’, but I think the saying is multiplied by about a million when you’re having fun with your kids. I know this comes as no surprise to other parents, but it all passes so quickly.
Last year when my oldest daughter finished eleventh grade, I cried. Finishing her junior year meant that she would be a senior when she returned to school in the fall. When the postcard arrived in the mail with her senior picture appointment time at the (local photo place) studio, I cried again. Taking these pictures for the yearbook made it very real; there was no doubt about her starting her senior year of high school when she posed with big foam numbers that said 2014. When August rolled around and she began her year of ‘lasts’, I cried again and again. The last summer band practices, the last first day of school, the last homecoming, the last time she marched onto the field at (our school's) stadium, the last Christmas break…all the sudden things that were no big deal before became opportunities for me to well up and turn into a big sappy mess. I’ve always been a crier, but this senior year business certainly brings it out in a mama! The Kleenex company has made big bucks off of me this year.
Last week, Savannah’s graduation announcements came in the mail. Friday, she brought home a plastic-wrapped mortar board, tassel and graduation gown. We took it out of the package to hang up the gown and it happened. As I watched her try it on and there she was: my seven and a half pound baby girl, my hard headed toddler, my tiny pink glasses-wearing kindergartener, my smart little elementary student and my independent middle schooler. I saw my beautiful high school freshman and my brilliant UIL competitor, my creative newspaper editor and artist. I remembered diapers and bottles, tricycles and training wheels, mud puddles and swing sets. I thought of novels and drawings, favorite cartoons and movies, late night essays, science projects and a million college applications. I watched her twirl in the gown and giggle at the silly way the cap made her hair look. For a brief moment, I saw a graduate.
As I have spent the last year looking at her through eyes blurred with tears, I have been sad to see her grown up, on the brink of adulthood. But more than tears of sadness, I cry tears or pride. I could not be more proud of the young woman she has become. She is wise beyond her years, independent and responsible. She is smart and talented, beautiful inside and out. We get compliments all the time about what a great kid Savannah is, and I can’t help but point to God. Larry and I have realized over the years that, at least for us, our first child has been our guinea pig. We have figured out how to parent with our first and then have tweaked it with the other children. We have screwed up many times, but somehow, by the grace of God, our eldest is an amazing young woman.
In a couple of weeks, I will sit shoulder to shoulder with a community of families I have shared most of the past thirteen years with in the (school name) gym and watch as our collective children stand in their maroon gowns and shake the hands of our school officials and receive their diploma. I will clap and cheer when they call my daughter’s name, and I will risk dehydration as I wipe my eyes and watch her begin a new chapter of her life as a grown up in this crazy world. We love you, Savannah! Happy graduation!"