How Did We Get Here So Fast?

KindergartenWasn’t it just yesterday my baby was waving to me from the step of the kindergarten bus on her way to the first day of school? I can picture her shy smile and the blue dress she wore perfectly. Her back pack on, she was exited to start her adventure. People told me the time would fly by and it surely has. Tomorrow she will walk across a make-shift stage in the parking lot of her school (thanks to COVID-19) to receive her high school diploma, while we watch from our cars.

Words to describe the pride, love and bittersweetness of my oldest daughter’s graduation escape my mind. I’ve thought all week about what I wanted to write on this occassion. How can I encapsulate this moment in time and do it justice? Not just a cliched, “I’m so proud of you” sentiment. Where do I start?

Who is this daughter of mine? Is she the toddler taking her first steps? Or the “watch me, mom!” girl going down the slide by herself? Is she the beautiful smile that lights up her face when she dances with her friends? Or the tears that stream down her cheeks when she heard school would close the remainder of her senior year? Is she the nervous girl applying for her first job at the movie theater? Or the confident young woman with her driver’s license in hand?

She is the excited preschooler running down the hall to announce the arrival of her new baby sister. She is the patient young girl that waited all day to “practice” show her new rabbit because her first rabbit died before fair and was disqualified. She is the stubborn child that refused to take her medicine, stayed up all night and still didn’t swallow it. She is the student-athlete that ran track not to win the race or score the winning basket, but because she enjoyed being part of the team. She is a dilgent editor that spent hours working on school newspaper. She is the kind young woman that helps an older woman from church put up her Christmas decorations each year. She is the thoughtful daughter who willing picks up the groceries for me every week. She is all this and more.

She has the grace and poise to realize that bad things happen, but how you react to those things is what’s important. She has an independent mind, thinks things through and stands up for herself and others. She has humilty and can admit her mistakes. She has a heart full of love, generosity and forgiveness. She will go off into the world and do great things. I have no doubt.

From the moment she was but a flutter within me, I loved her. When her tiny hand grasped my finger through the opening of her incubater the first time, my heart overflowed with love. I didn’t think I could love her anymore then, but I do. My job as her mom may be coming to an end, but she will always be my little girl.

I love you Emily Pearl! Congratulations on all your hard work!