Our family celebrated a first yesterday. Child #2 graduated from college—our first college grad.
In a blindingly short time, child #3 will pack up and begin her college years.
I have enjoyed having a kid at college a ten-minute drive away, and it is completely not cool that Child #3 is not being as cooperative. Not cool—but it is right.
Yesterday we watched that raven-haired toddler with the adorable curls and the insatiable need to take things apart stand tall and accept her diploma—a paper validating her need to explore, take apart ideas, and put together her own worldview.
There have been bumps, bridges, tears, and peals of laughter on the journey of this young woman becoming a force to be reckoned with. I can't think of one thing I would add to make the person I saw cross the stage better. Time, experience, and God will do their work in refining her. But at this moment, there are not many a-few-days-shy-of-twenty-two-year-old women like her. At least, that's my personal belief.
So on the day after your college graduation, Thing 2 (aka Shenanigan girl), here is what your mother wishes for you:
- I want for you a joy in being independent and loving the life you create with God. Maybe Prince Charming will walk in, and maybe he won't. Either way, make a life you love. Look forward to what you can do, not backward to what you didn't get.
- I want for you a simple life that knows it isn't the things but the experience. It will be so difficult, especially if you join the suburban-house-with-kids merry-go-round, to keep that focus. Resist the urge to be like everyone else and have all that they have and do all they do. They do not have it all.
- I want for you a recognition every day that time is fast and people grow up or disappear from your life. Don't be so busy you forget that. Don't watch kids grow up or parents get old or friends move away while you're concentrating on cleaning a house or forwarding a career. There is always time for people.
- I want for you the joy of being a mom. Plus, I want to get my revenge for all the kitchen cooking “projects” and grocery store meltdowns. But if that doesn't happen, I want the joy of throwing yourself into the lives of other children who need someone like you. The willingness to forget caution and toss unconditional love at someone who hasn't experienced it. You'll get hurt. All lovers do. Just do it anyway.
- I want for you a quiet faith that there is One who loves you beyond what even I can do, and He has your life and your heart in his hand. I want this bedrock to be your refuge no matter what life throws at you. I want it to be your launching pad to venture out into the scary world and do whatever it is He calls you to do. I want it to be your first thought on waking and your last thought on going to sleep. Jesus loves me. This I know. With that, you can do anything.
Not bad for a kid who still, technically, does not have a high school diploma.