Thursday, June 2, 2011

Graduation and Promotion

Yesterday our second child graduated from high school.  I know that commencement ceremonies are dull, but I am not your normal person.  By the end of the exercises my cheeks were tired from all the smiling.  I looked around at that group of Jags and realized that there are over a dozen of them who I love enough to claim them as my own.  They are talented.  They are brilliant.  They are good.  They are extraordinary, ordinary people.  It is a blessing to know them, and I hope I get a tiny chance to have glimpses of them as they grow up.

When the meeting had concluded, Spencer turned to me and said, "Well, that's half of our children."  I did not shed tears till he said that.

I know I've said this a dozen times, but having our children grow up is a much harder thing than I expected it to be.  I am thrilled for them.  I am pleased with the choices they are making and people they are.  I love that Spencer and I get to look forward to time together in our later years. 

But it also gives me a little sock in the stomach when I consider that in 8 months or less our son will be on a mission.  In a year, #3 will be graduating from high school.  There is a piece of me that just can't get past the fact that a blink ago I was the #1 person in their lives; that I could tell them to be home at 6:00, and at 6:00 they were safely under my wings for the night; that I got to choose their clothes and their shoes and their hairstyles and their meals and their daily activities.

On the other hand, there was a lot of potential sitting in that room yesterday.  There were amazingly brilliant people.  There were frighteningly motivated people.  There were extremely giving people.  Sitting in blue and black robes were several hundred young people who in the next several decades really could change the world.  Their futures are as bright as their eyes.

But some of these young people will spend time in prison; while some will work hard to promote peace and justice.  Many will divorce, and many will marry wonderful people and raise beautiful families.  Some will be married by this time next year, possibly with babies of their own on the way.  Many will serve missions for the Church; some who we hope will serve will choose not to.  Some will be presidents of companies and directors of boards, their names "in lights" (figuratively or literally).  Others will quietly care for parents, siblings, spouses, and children with no fanfare and very little recognition.  Some will be taken by cancer; others will live till they've outlived everyone they knew before they were 20 years old.  Some will grow old and bitter; others will grow old with laugh-line-wrinkles.  Some will walk in the shadow of doubt; some will bask in the glow of faith.

And there before me is the really harsh truth:  I have no idea what is in store for our children.  Not only do I not choose their clothes or their meals or their jobs, I do not control the paths their lives take AT ALL.  I cannot control their choices or the choices of the people around them.

It's a sock in the stomach, I tell you!

And then I remember that it's not all about fear.  It is still about hope and promise and goodness.  I will revel in continuing to know and watch and celebrate our fabulous children.

And to my dying day, they will be my cherished babies.


Jacqueline said...

That must be how all parents feel. I'm already stressin' my lil' 2 year old to go to preschool. And then kindergarten. And middle school. And high school?!


ugh. love those kids!!!

Kim and Preston said...

Love the insights...Thanks Aundrea.

Noelle said...

You should see me at the moment...big crocodile tears...I think you wrote this post just for me. I'm hoping that at some near future date that sock to the stomach feeling will fade just a little bit. Thanks for this...really.