I’ve been here before. Having a child graduate from high school, that is. Just two short years ago your brother walked across the stage and entered a new phase of his life. Now, it’s your turn and I find myself flipping through emotions that I didn’t think I would have the second time around.
From the very first day you were born, you lived life to your own beat. You didn’t listen to what others did or said. You didn’t conform to the norm. You knew exactly who you were way before anyone else figured it out. This fact made being your mom a true adventure. And I Thank You for taking me on this ride.
There were times where this ride caused me to cry because you refused to eat ANYTHING. There were times during this ride where I was up at night walking you around the house, bouncing you to just the right rhythm so you would sleep a few minutes. There were times during this ride where I thought I was failing you as a mom. And there were times during this ride where I thought you hated me.
But even through the rough times of your strong-willed, often defiant behavior, I never did anything but love you. Support you. Cherish you.
You have constantly amazed me. Your personality shining like the brightest star. Your moral compass always pointing north. You never wavered in knowing who you were.
I admire that about you.
I have to be honest and say that there were times where I tried to make you fit into a mold. To be the kid that sits still, listens quietly, does what they are told. To be the kid that gets involved in activities and is the best athlete. To be the kid that excels at anything that comes their way.
But now as I look at your graduation cap and gown hanging on our laundry room door, I’m glad you didn’t squeeze yourself into that mold. I’m glad you taught me that you were making your own mold, not fitting into a pre-existing one. I’m glad you chose to be the kid who’s brain figures things out well before the teacher shares the answer. I’m glad that you found a couple of things to excel at, instead of doing 100 different things and getting burned out.
I’m glad that your gentle soul hurts for those who are being picked on at school. I’m glad that you don’t need to be the center of attention to feel good about yourself. I’m glad that you can make fun of yourself instead of making fun of others. I’m glad that you are stronger than peer pressure.
These things are what make you special. They are what will carry you through college and years after that. Your stubbornness in doing things your way will propel you forward when classes pile tons of work on you. Your gentle soul will shine through when your friends need help with homework, a ride home from a party or a good laugh at the end of a tough day.
How do I know these things? Because I’ve seen you do these very things over and over again while you were under my roof. I saw your stubbornness when you had to write a paper on a topic that bored you to tears, but you did it with grace and a sense of humor. I saw your gentle soul when you stood up to the kid on the school bus who was picking on your younger sister. I saw your kind heart when you found a garden snake in our pool who was struggling to stay on the pool hose. You decided he was tired, so you brought it into the house and showed me. And I see your wonderful sense of humor on a daily basis. Whether it’s in a funny video, singing to a song (knowing full well you are off key), or when you make a mistake and laugh at yourself instead of berating yourself.
I have no doubt that you will continue to do all of these things when you are on your own. You will bless those around you by your strength, sense of humor, kind heart and knowledge.
So, as I watch you walk across the stage and get your diploma, please know that although that paper is important, what I’m truly thankful for is the young man you have become…
…someone who was special enough to make their own mold.
I love you!