TO MY DAUGHTER ON HER GRADUATION DAY
It’s graduation day! It’s hard for me to believe that you are graduating from high school. Like so many other mom’s before me, I feel like it was just yesterday that I dropped you off for your first day of preschool. I can remember that day so vividly. You wore a little navy jumper with pink and red flowers. You were so tentative walking into that classroom, but by the time I picked you up, you’d made a couple new friends and were already asking for play dates. I should have realized then that you would be my little social butterfly. Next came kindergarten. You and Alena, walking to the bus stop chattering non-stop. I’m not even sure you realized that I was walking along side you, tears in my eyes, as my baby made her way into the world….or at least into the world of elementary school. I don’t think you’ve stopped talking yet, but that’s okay because it gives me a window into who you are and makes me sure that I know what is going on, even when you think I have no clue.
You’ve been a “good” child. Most of the time. That’s not to say you haven’t given me your own share of challenges. All the things I hoped you would be as an adult so evident so early in your life. I surely thought I would be able to manage you into your teenage years, but you would have none of that. You were fiercely independent from the start, but at the same time, you would cling to the traditions and the relationships you developed, never giving up on anything or anyone until you just couldn’t hold on anymore. You let those things, those people, those challenges become part of the fiber of your being and rather than trying to push them aside; you’ve grown and adapted and become who you are because of them.
Middle school…oh the awkward years. Who doesn’t look at those school pictures in 5th, 6th and 7th grade and ask themselves just how they survived. Despite the braces and the pudgy cheeks and the gawkiness, you had an inner grace that maybe only I could see. The beauty of you in a solo ballet dance or the expressiveness in those big baby blues. When no one else could see those, I always could.
Then came the rebellious years. All I can say is ugh. That stubborn streak, that defiance, that “I know better and I am going to do what I want” attitude just about killed me. That’s when the grey hair started. Everyone blames them on your brother, but I know the truth. You were a handful. But even during those times, you were still my girl. You still loved a hug and to cuddle and to talk to me about everything. At times, I just wanted to put my hands over my ears…..I just wanted to say STOP TALKING. But you didn’t and I am eternally grateful for that because, when I felt like I might be losing you, you always came back to me. When I thought that you were growing up too fast, that you were choosing a path I didn’t want for you, you came back. I learned to understand that these were growing pains and that, this too, shall pass.
Finally, the high school years. Stubbornness became determination. Rebelliousness became independence. Knowing it all became a little bit of worldliness. You grew out of that awkward phase, out of the rebellious phase, and into the beautiful young woman before me today. Still stubborn. Still independent. Still certain you have the answers. And still talking a mile a minute. You still like a hug, to cuddle, the traditions. You are loving and emotional and smart and have the soul of someone so much older and wiser. Your laugh lights up a room and your silliness has evolved into a well-developed sense of humor. You are a fighter…fighting for what you want, for what you believe in. Sometimes to the dismay of those closest to you, when we dare to disagree. But those things will serve you well as you move forward with your life. It’s how I know that, no matter what, you will be okay.
I send you out into the world knowing that (if you can get up in the morning) you will be a success no matter what you do. The little girl in the navy jumper is now ready to venture out into this great big world and I couldn’t be prouder of who you’ve become. My life is better, is richer, is more complete having watched you grow into the amazing woman you are. I will miss you immensely, in case you are wondering, but I know that you will always come home for that cuddle and hug and just to talk because you aren’t only my daughter, you are also my best friend.
Congratulations my beautiful, amazing baby girl. I can’t wait to see what is next.
With love and pride, Mom
PS. Lexie, please be sure to read the follow-up….Words of Wisdom on Your Graduation Day