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Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I love graduations...I love the hats, diplomas, and most of all I love a good commencement speech. Add to that hundreds of happy graduates, grateful parents,tired but fulfilled teachers and you have the recipe for total happiness.

That is what I felt yesterday, total happiness. My youngest child, my Emma, graduated from high school. She gave a wonderful, inspiring speech....her voice never faltered. There is a reason she graduated on the day of the year with the most light...the longest day, the first day of summer...that is her metaphor, she is light and warmth, and never gives up. Then at the end of the ceremony she led the student body in moving their tassels from the right to the left.

....and just like that they were high school graduates.

My feelings were so intense, and so profound...I found it hard to breathe at times. When we first got to graduation, I had this overwhelming feeling of, "Well, it's here, and there is nothing you can do to stop it" I knew there was no way to get back the days of her childhood. My little girl grew up, and I started to cry. Her life is changing for sure but an enormous part of my life is changing as well. The days of small children are past. They were great days, and I will miss them. And just like all moms suddenly faced with their children growing hurts. As hard as it was, I loved it. I loved kneeling at the side of their beds, I loved the games, the gym meets, the recitals, I loved helping at their schools, I just loved being with them.

Over the years I brought crates of oranges to games, bought pounds of cookie dough and enough candles to light St. Patrick's Cathedral. I know I spent more time in my car than in my house.

We survived lost elections, lost tryouts, lost shoes, and lost games....we jubilantly brought home trophy's and ribbons, good report cards, and enough slurpees to change the economy.

It is a job I enjoyed so much...but it is a job that changes. it is hard to watch so much of the really sweet stuff just vanish...

Like the first time they don't need you to tie their shoes, or hold their hand. Or when they get their license and drive solo the first time.

Those are all good things of course, but that feeling, that feeling of obsolescence looms. You know the meaning of planned obsolescence right?

Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design is a policy of deliberately planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete or nonfunctional after a certain period of time.

And that is a bit how I feel today....obsolete, I am a product designed for a limited useful life.

Dramatic? yikes!!

That isn't completely true, they still refer to me as 'mother' and they still love me...but the day to day stuff? As they tell me, "I got this, mom." And I am happy that they can fly on their own. That is a good thing.

However, that is a concept I am not doing well with today.

The truth is, I will miss kneeling at the side of their bed having prayer. I will miss watching them dance, play football, soccer, basketball, baseball, cheer, and do gymnastics. I will miss walking in the front door and seeing 25 pairs of shoes knowing that meant there were 25 teenagers in my den...I already miss their friends....I will miss making pasta for 10 then 20 and then maybe 30 teenagers.

I am blessed to have had the experience, but I will miss it to be sure...

My little girl Ashleigh was the dish who ran away with the little Trey dressed up as every character he saw on television or the movies and wore a suit to pre-school, my little Mikey who refused to go to first grade because he thought he was never coming home again, and 6 year old Emma.......standing with the coaches on the football field, her baseball cap on backwards with a whistle and a clipboard.

Those memories along with about a million more are mine....and I am so grateful for them.

But today I am a little sad...


  1. I KNOW how your heart feels, and it was a killer 8 times for me. I can tell you that you will go on being there for them with college and marriage and then the greatest reward of all...grandchildren. Then you get to start it all over and it goes on and on..what a smart plan! ;D

  2. Sending you a big {{hug}} today, Donna. I remember... I remember... but, we wouldn't have it any other way. blessings ~ Tanna

  3. I also can really relate to this post. I have already felt it 3 times and you'd think it would get easier.
    With every milestone Trent (my youngest) reaches I know the end is imminently coming closer and closer. New doors open and life changes and fills with new things but all the sweetness of raising little ones only happens once. Thank goodness for memories.
    You said it so well.

    Congratulations to your daughter on graduating as Valedictorian!! She is gorgeous!

  4. It is hard to see them grow up and become adults and leave home. The youngest is the hardest, of course, but then they mature, make good decisions (most of the time),get married, start having their own children, becoming parents, and making us more proud than we could have imagined. The Grand babies are such a joy to hug and cuddle and kiss and it makes it all worth having our own grown up.

  5. She wasn't the valedictorian...but she will love that you thought so!! She is in student council...loves being in charge...

  6. Congrats to the girl and Big hugs for the MOM.

    You did a good job. The next phase will be just as fun.

    We just had a late one to solve the empty nest issue.

  7. Oh, the tears.

    SUCH tears from me.

    My time is coming..and I don't know how I'm going to make it.

  8. Okay, so you answered my question of her being the valedictorian. A student council officer? I have one of those and she loves being in charge, too. Ready to take over the world.

    I have only had one leave the nest so far, but I traveled a path of grief when she graduated and went off to college. I compared it to that feeling of absolute, potent love that washes over you, the minute that squalling baby is put in your arms. The feeling of grief when they leave your arms is just as overwhelming, just as stealthy with its powerful punch as that very first minute.

    Congratulations to your girl and to you for raising a fine family. She'll go out and find her place in the world. Stay strong, Mama. A new life is waiting for her and maybe for you, too.

    By the way, you all are a beautiful family.

  9. Don't you love parents who love their kids! Joann's comment was exactly my feeling, it is a feeling of grief...
    thanks for the love....

  10. You are such a good momma to lead them to their paths...and the journey goes on ~ Promise ♥
    *Our lives are a journey
    each one a unique path…
    *The road has many twists and turns
    some lofty peaks
    and some dark valleys.
    *Sometimes the way is
    smooth and easy -
    sometimes rocky and rough.
    *But each journey is important
    in that we meet one another
    as we walk our paths…
    *And thereby know who we really are.

  11. Congratulations to your very darling daughter! You must have been the proudest mom in the whole place today...I would have been; that's for sure.


  12. Oh my you captured your emotions beautifully. What a writer you are! Problem is though, I related too much....I know what you were expressing.

    What a darling girl, your baby Emma. And she spoke at the graduation?!! No wonder you could hardly breath at times!

  13. You brought tears to my eyes with that post. I remember only too well that gut wrenching feeling when each one left the nest. They may not have gone real far, but I knew it was permanent - and I grieved as well for the past. There are so many milestones ahead yet, you'll see. And wait until those grandchildren come - I never thought I could love a child as much as I loved my own, but surprise - I do. And I die all over again at the thought of all their sweetness growing up. So many precious memories, but I don't think you ever get used to the ebb and flow.

  14. Oh my this post brought back a lot of memories and like you it was so hard to watch them move on.
    I hope you want be sad for long because she will always be your little girl.
    Your daughter is absolutely beautiful and so are you.

  15. Julie Harward sent me over! Loved Pres. Hinckley's quote on your sidebar. Your daughter is beautiful. Our youngest is entering his senior year. He wanted to graduate early and I told him I wasn't ready for that (neither is he, I think!) I am having as much fun or more with grandkids though, as you listed things you miss, I thought, yep, we are doing that with the grandkids and that! I don't look forward to the day no one comes home on a regular basis, but I sure love the days that some burst through the door yelling, "Grandma! Is anybody here?!"

  16. Don't be sad, be happy that your wisdom, nurturing, guidance and love shaped your children into the fabulous people they are today! Congratulations to you ALL!

    Best wishes always,

  17. Though I've spent a good amount of time with you I feel like I get to know a whole new person when reading your blog. My mom is now a devoted follower as well. I wish you could see your kids the way I do and see how much of you they take when they leave your house. I couldn't survive without Mikey's friendship. Thank you for everything you put into him...