Graduation and a Mama’s Growing Pains

May has an emotional month. I’m trying to hold myself together, plow through and not let it get to me, but frankly, sometimes I can’t help it. I find myself a little weepy, vacillating between tears of joyful pride and a longing for my kids to be little again.

My oldest son graduates high school today and in just a few days, my youngest child leaves elementary school for the daunting middle school experience. For the time being, it’s extra Kleenex and waterproof mascara for me.

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I realize my job as a parent is to prepare my children to eventually leave our home. To fly out of the nest and make their own little nest apart from me. Ooohh, but the reality of it is painful sometimes. Something inside me wants to keep them little, contained, to control them. Strapping them in their car seat was much easier than standing at the front door watching them fasten their own seatbelt and drive away!

I want to remind them how much they need me by recalling all of the things I’ve done for them. “Would you like me to walk you to class one more time? Remember when you couldn’t sleep and were afraid of the dark? What about that homework you didn’t understand? Who was there to talk with you when your heart was broken? How are you going to navigate this ginormous world without me?”

As an artist approaches his marble slab searching to discover the masterpiece hidden inside, as a mom I’ve spent years chipping away marble, smoothing rough edges, drawing out the uniqueness of each of my children, working to release their full God-given potential. I’ve gently handled these precious masterpieces God has entrusted to me with extreme care. Now, just like that, I’m supposed to let them go?

My kids have been a part of every day of my life for years, how am I supposed to be ready for this? How can I be expected to disconnect my emotions like some robot?

I keep reminding myself that more desirable than keeping them little, I aspire to see them become. To grow to become everything God created for them. To walk with them (Although I promise I won’t hold your hand in public), to love them (I promise I won’t kiss you in front of your friends), develop them and teach them to love God and love others in a healthy way. A way that values people and reflects their value before God. To live in a way that honors God and makes Him smile.

So in the meantime, I’ll keep wiping my tears and sniffling my way through the next few days, holding onto memories as precious treasures tucked in my heart.

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Congratulations kids. Even though I may look like a wreck right now, I’m incredibly proud of each of  you – of all you’ve accomplished, all you aspire to be and, most importantly, the beautiful people you are.

As you venture into the big world lying before you and embrace new opportunities, this is my prayer for you,

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

Shine brightly, dear children. And don’t forget to call your mom.

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