We walked through an underground tunnel and turned down a hallway. As the floor sloped up we walked through the dugout and stepped onto the dirt track around the field. I felt over 100 years of American baseball tradition (MLB was founded in 1869), the joy of the long summer days with families and friends, and the excitement and anticipation that little kids feel when seeing their favorite players take the field.
This feeling? That's the same feeling seniors have when they graduate. The excitement of being a part of something greater, the joy of experiencing this momentous achievement with family and friends, and the anticipation of what's next.
And for moms? In just a few short months, this will be you:
Your high school senior waves at you in the sea of moms, dads, grandparents, family and friends. She walks across the stage in her cap and gown, shakes the principal’s hand, grabs her diploma, and smiles as she navigates her way back to her seat in the overcrowded coliseum. As she walks back to her chair, time slows for you.
You catch a glimpse of her bright and joyful eyes and like a vision, you see her as a 2 year old toddler. With a bright blonde ponytail sprout on the top of her head, she chases a "buttuh-fly" past the swings and twisty slide at the playground. The sticky summer breeze blows as a train whistles in the distance. She suddenly looks up with wide eyes and runs to you for comfort and a hug. You know she isn’t afraid and is a little dramatic in her pretend fear, but you don’t mind in the least bit. You squeeze her tight as she nestles in close to your neck. She pats your back as if you are the one that needs comfort.
You can’t believe how fast time has gone. You have worked so hard to get her here, to get her to graduation, to help her get into one of the nation's most prestigious universities, to guide her to be a good and moral person, and, Mom?
You've done well.
It was as if it was just yesterday that you rocked her to sleep, chased her around the toy cluttered living room as she screamed at the top of her lungs, and carefully packed her favorite lunch of string cheese, Teddy Grahams, grapes, and Greek blueberry yogurt in a Disney tote for her first day of kindergarten.
But this is it. She’s finishing high school. In just a few short months, you’ll pack up the SUV that took you to cheer her on as she cheered on the football team, that carried you through crazy traffic as you listened to her talk about life and dreams, and that created a barrier from the world when you prayed for wisdom as you parented your precious daughter. You’ll unload all her belongings as she moves out and starts a new chapter of life.
Maybe you wish that time would stop, that she would stop changing and growing.
Maybe your heart has no idea how it feels. You long for the days when she’d bounce around behind you. You swept the floor in your mom yoga pants and she wore her favorite yellow Disney Belle footed pajamas. Although you long for those days, you are so excited about the young woman she is now.
For years, you’ve been hard at work raising this gorgeous child of yours. Every morning your alarm yelled at 4:45 so that you could get in a quick workout and a few minutes to yourself before your house erupted in the morning chaos. Kids scrambled through the shower, clothes seemed to fly through the air as they frantically emptied all the clean baskets in search of their favorite jeans (didn't they just wear them yesterday?), and you signed papers without putting down the spatula. You cooked a breakfast of fluffy scrambled eggs and link sausage for your kids to get them started for the day (they don’t know how good they have it). Even on your off days you made sure they had their favorite blueberry bagels and strawberry cream cheese with a big glass of orange juice. You rush them off to school and are in line on time to pick them up.
Whatever it is that your heart feels, you know that this time is short and paramount, and the ending and beginning of eras.
In these last few days before a piece of your life moves across the country to attend her dream university, I know that all you want is to spend every minute with her. You want her to know how much you love her. You want her to remember the values you taught her. You want to do everything you can to encourage her to live a grand life in which she chases her dreams.
I know that your little girl can change the world.
My daughter makes me want to be a better version of me- a me that pushes my own boundaries to be a better Christ follower, wife, mother, business owner, and artist. She makes me want to change the world- just like yours makes you want to change the world.