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Some thoughts as our children approach graduation

Our daughter will graduate Friday night. I’m not sure how that’s possible since we just brought her home from the hospital last week – but friends who have walked this road before me assure me it’s really going to happen.

Like most moms, I’ve been sorting through pictures and looking at scrapbooks. I’ve looked at art projects from elementary school and read essays from middle school. I’ve laughed and cried and reminisced.

These years have gone by far faster than I ever could have imagined – but the days, as they say, seem slow. I can close my eyes and see a baby floating in the pool on a trip for a family reunion in the Smoky Mountains. I can hear the rat-a-tat-tat of tiny tap shoes on my tile as she faithfully practiced for her class every week. Wasn’t it just a few days ago that we had a house full of girls giggling and screeching as we celebrated her 12th birthday the Saturday night after her first middle school dance?

I remember as if it were yesterday that Sunday morning in April 2007 when she climbed into my lap and told me she needed to ask Jesus into her heart. I can still feel that lump in my throat as she drove herself to school for the first time.

What do you say in moments like these? How do you put into words the sheer joy your child has brought to your life? How is it possible to describe the wonder you feel when you look over and see the incredible young adult who sits next to you at church?

As we inch closer to the big moment Friday night, there are just a few things I want to remind myself to do. Maybe they are reminders some other parents of graduates could use, too.

Give lots of grace. There will be less-than perfect moments because we’re less-than perfect people. So, operate from grace.  Go ahead and assume the best about everyone – even the chatty people who could end up sitting in front of you at the ceremony.

Be all there. I’ve watched many of the biggest moments in Casiday’s life on a tiny screen, more concerned about getting the video or the picture. But for this moment, this big day, choose to be present. And know this: the picture in your mind can hold the moment far better than a camera ever can.

Finally, savor it all. This day is one of the most significant in their lives and in ours.  It’s what we’ve all worked for – to raise children who are capable and confident and ready to face the next chapter of their lives with a solid foundation.

So laugh and cry and hug and tell all the stories! Enjoy the day and celebrate your child like I’ll be celebrating mine.

When you lie down after its all over, whisper a prayer of gratitude to the One who gave you the gift of raising such an incredible person.

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