Life: a celebration of endings that invite new beginnings
It's been a busy time for our family. Two graduations, a moving on ceremony, Tom took a new job after twenty-six years with the same company, and our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary have made it quite the celebratory month!
The festivities started a few weeks ago with Allen-Michael's graduation from college:
Then we had Mia's "moving on ceremony", and last, but never least...this past weekend was the third big gathering:
What a gift it has been to watch our kids continue to move forward on their paths!
I made several discoveries over the past few weeks of milestones with our kids.
First, I had to Google what "magna cum laude" meant, because it was next to Allen-Michael's name in the graduation program. While he offered to share his grades with us once and a while during his college career, knowing Allen-Michael has an internal sense of working hard and living a life of service to others, it was never on my radar to spend a lot of time asking what his grades were. Obviously he was true to what we've learned about him over the years and he ended up doing a terrific job with his courses.
Second, I learned my daughter was involved in many more clubs and activities at school than I was aware of. Each of the 147 fifth graders were called out individually during her program...when they began the process I said to my mom, "I don't know if Mia will have anything listed after her name." Once again I was surprised to hear six "awards" called out.
Lastly, when we attended Brigham's high school graduation last weekend, the principal mentioned the class of 832 students had earned over $31 million dollars in scholarships. The valedictorian and salutatorian (headed to Harvard and UT-Austin respectively) spoke largely of the academic, sport, and art achievements for the 2016 class. I found it sad, but not surprising. There was a young woman who spoke at the end of the ceremony (also in the Top 20 of the class) who mentioned connections with parents and friends...hers was the most emotionally connected speech of the day.
You might think from the above comments I neglect my kids day-to-day life because I don't emphasize their academic achievements or their involvement in school programs. I realize I am in the minority of parents who truly believe their children will be successful in life no matter what their grades, or how busy they are kept. I work at my relationship with each of the kids so that it's centered around guiding them to become who they are meant to be, and not about what I envision for/or expect of them, or that their inherent value lies in the grades they achieve.
Allen-Michael will return to work with NET (National Evangelical Team) out of St. Paul, Minnesota as a team supervisor starting next month. Brigham is coaching tennis and busing tables this summer to save money for books and tuition to Texas Tech, and Ms. Mia is determined to get an iPhone for middle school...which she plans to acquire by babysitting with her newly acquired Red Cross certification.
If I had to pinpoint what I find most "rewarding" (for lack of better phrasing) about raising our kids, it would be that while they are each wildly different and pursuing a variety of paths, when we get together each one respects the others' choices (even if they don't agree with them), and they all really enjoy one another's company.
Here's to a summer of transitions and new beginnings for all come fall!