Friday, April 24, 2020

A Letter to my Graduating Senior

My dear girl, 

By now, it is abundantly clear that this year will not end the way anyone anticipated. The first day you walked into kindergarten, we started along a path that was supposed to lead to you walking across a stage in a cap and gown, receiving your diploma, celebrating all you have accomplished over the past (almost) 18 years. 

We know now that the journey will not end that way. 

It breaks my heart that, despite the mama bear in me who is willing to fight to the death for you, this is a battle I cannot win and an ending I cannot change. There are, however, a few things I still want you to know. 

  1. THIS DOES NOT DIMINISH WHAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED! You have worked tirelessly for thirteen years. You have overcome hard things - academically, socially, and emotionally. You have faced challenges head on and overcome them all. Those victories are YOURS and no virus or cancelled ceremony can take them from you. They have strengthened you, taught you, and made you who you are today. Stand tall and hold your head high. You have MUCH to be proud of.
  2. IT IS OKAY TO BE UPSET! The rug has been ripped out from underneath your feet and you have every right to feel sad, disappointed, angry, and overwhelmed. You need to grieve what you have lost. Whatever emotions you are experiencing, let them flow! Ugly cry, yell, curse if you need to. I'll ugly cry with you, yell with you, curse with you. I'll give you my shoulder, wrap you in a hug, and just sit with the feelings for a while if that's what you need. Your feelings are real and completely justified. Don't be afraid to feel them deeply.
  3. YOU WILL BE CELEBRATED! There may be no "Pomp and Circumstance" played, but we will celebrate you in our own way. As we are able, we will celebrate your friends as well. My hope and prayer is that, in some way, our celebrations will be even more meaningful than an auditorium full of faces and a few stiff handshakes on the stage. Our celebrations may be small, but they will be filled with joy, love, and laughter.  
  4. THIS TOO SHALL PASS! I said that a lot when you were little and even as you grew. That phrase got me through sleepless nights, toddler temper tantrums, middle school angst, and teaching you to drive. I know right now it feels like an enormous roadblock, but, in time, we will look back and see it only as a bump in the road - albeit it a painful one. It will not stop you from moving on and achieving even more. It will be a piece of your puzzle, but it will not define your future. 
Right now, these words may seem hollow to you- a poor substitute for the celebrations you truly deserve and the memories you never got to make. That's okay. I'm writing them down for you, but also for me. I've been on the journey with you and I wanted to celebrate, too. Despite our heartache over what will not happen, I will forever be grateful for what HAS happened - the gift of time and precious moments spent with you, walking, talking, laughing, lamenting. They are in a different category of "special moments," and I will treasure them even more fiercely than the ones that should have been. I hope you will treasure them, too. 

I'll end by repeating my #1 - this does not diminish what you have achieved. Never doubt how proud we are. Never doubt how much you are loved. Never doubt your own strength and resilience. Walk tall with sure steps and abundant grace. Rest assured that, while one journey is ending abruptly, another grander one is just beginning! 

With love beyond measure,

Friday, January 10, 2020


Hi! It's been a while, right? The last time I posted any words in this space was November, 2018. For a while, I really didn't miss it, but lately I've had the tech to write again - not the time, but the itch!

So, when I was asked to choose a "star" word for the year at work AND saw that was the prompt for Finish the Sentence Friday, I thought maybe this was the time to drift back to this distant, but familiar spot. 

I've never been very big on resolutions. I've made them half-heartedly and, like most, they fall by the wayside within a few weeks or months. It's the same with the word of the year trend that has erupted the past few years. It never hurts to give it some thought, though. 

Have you ever heard of Star Words or Star Gifts? It is a spiritual twist on the idea of a word of the year. It is a tradition that coincides with the Christian celebration of Epiphany which focuses on the journey of the Wise Men or Magi who followed the tar to find and offer gifts to  Jesus. Often, the star words are simply given out and people are asked to focus throughout the year on the word they have been given. We did it a little differently, though. We were offered a variety of words written on stars and had the opportunity to choose one that "spoke" to us. So what word did I choose?

My word is IMAGINE and this here are the reasons why. 

I chose this word at work because I want to imagine new ways to do things. I work at a church that is pretty traditional, but we are preparing for change because we will have a new pastor soon. Tradition is great, but, in my opinion, we need some new energy, some new ideas, some new . . . something! 

At home, I have started a new diet plan. Yes - you have permission to roll your eyes! I mean, how cliche, right? New year, new diet! It deserves and eye roll. However, I'm not doing it because it's a new year. I'm doing it because a few minor but significant things have happened lately that have pushed me "over the edge" and propelled me to attempt yet another weight loss plan. (The timing just happens to coincide with the new year.) I'm trying to imagine personal place where I don't hate my reflection anymore and I'm working to get myself there.

I'm actually trying NOT to imagine what life will look like in the fall. My oldest daughter is a senior in high school this year and we are in the midst of the college application process. Actually, the applications are done, so we are really in the midst of waiting - waiting for acceptances and scholarship notifications (hopefully!) so we can make a final decision. It is nerve-wracking & gut-wrenching. In the end, I'll be sending her off somewhere and we will all be entering a whole new phase of life. 

Lastly, I am imagining what it might be like to write again. It's one of those things that is just in my soul. I frequently compose blog posts in my head. Blogging had become a burden, though, and I lost that for a while. I'm in a very different stage of life compared to when I started. I have teenagers, not toddlers. With a different focus and no pressure put on myself to write on a particular schedule, I think I might find myself back here a little more often and I'm looking forward to that. 

Speaking of writing again, I wrote something about my 20 books to read in 2020. At the time, I wasn't sure I'd be coming back to write here, so I submitted it another, NC local website. You can read it HERE

What are you imagining in this new year and new decade?

This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post. FTSF is hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. 

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