There is change in the air, can you feel it? It lies subtle and thick above us, pressing on our shoulders and on our hearts, leaving us with a dread and a nostalgic anticipation. It's the graduation of our seniors, the day our babies will say goodbye to high school and say hello to life. The day us parents must reluctantly give up our spot in the driver's seat and turn it over to them.
I don't know about you, but I'm not ready. I've been preparing myself for this day for 17 years, and now that it's here, I find myself completely unprepared. I find that, no matter how ready my child may be, no matter how prepared he thinks he is; I'm not. I'm not ready to let him go, I'm not confident that he is as ready as he thinks he is. And I find myself questioning every decision I've made, every lesson I taught him, and how ready he really is to face this cruel and unforgiving world.
I know that at 17, I thought I was. And I also know now that I wasn't. The one thing I remember about being that age is that I used my ability to hear very selectively, I heard what I wanted to. And even though I have spoken all the words that I want my graduate to know, I want to repeat the most important ones to him here, so should he forget later, and should I be unable to remind him, he can read these words and remember:
“It is my greatest hope that you find everything you seek in your life. That you never stop making your dreams higher, stop reaching for them. I pray that you take every second that God has given you, and make it the best second of your life. I pray that as you run through this fast and hurried world that once in a while you stop to dance, to take a look at who and what is around you, and be thankful for it, for them.
“I hope that you find that you are okay without me, even if I find that I'm not doing so good without you. I hope that you take every test you encounter in your life, and turn them into testimonies.
“I want to thank you for accepting and understanding all the things about me that I thought I had hidden from you, protected you from. All the things about me that I'm not so proud of, that I wish I could change, wish I could be. And I hope that you can always try and understand and accept those things in everyone you encounter in your new life. That you can do the same for your own. We all make mistakes, we all have faults. We are all made differently because God wanted it that way, he needed it to be that way so that he could test us, so that he can see who acts on his word, and who simply repeats his word.
“I want you to know that there will come a time in your life where nothing will go your way, where you'll feel like every door is locked and every window is closed. Where you'll reach out your hand for something, and find nothing. There will come a time where you just can't seem to find your place. A time when all your hope is gone, when you feel like you can't go on.
“And I want you to always remember that you can, that you will. As long as the good Lord let's me, I'll be here. I'll be here to remind you that those times are presented to us all, to make us stronger and wiser. That if we let them teach us, and not deter us, they bring us our greatest lessons. I want you to know that you will always have a place with me, that I'll always do my best to be your hope, to push you through every challenge and chapter in your life.
“And I want you to know how very proud I am of you, how much I love you. How honored I am to have been your mom, your friend. How blessed you have made my life. And how much I pray that you will always let it be me, let me be the mom you need, the friend you want, and the shoulder you desire.
“Your wings are now free, so fly. Just don't fly too far away from me.”