Well, it is official. My oldest is a high school graduate.
We had his graduation ceremony on Friday night and it was a special and fun time. I'm thankful for the many people that were able to be there to celebrate with us! As the date of his graduation grew close, it gave me many opportunities to reflect and ponder.
As we looked through 18 years of photos - a lifetime of memories - oh, all the memories. Seeing the chubby little baby that made me a mommy and forever changed my life. Seeing the cute toddler that loved Elmo and then dinosaurs. The early pictures of our homeschooling with so much hands on fun. Moving into school age with field trips, birthday parties, vacations and more. Memories of travelling the state as we learned about history. Reflections of sports from soccer to basketball to football and running. Seeing him love all the new babies that we welcomed into our family. Watching the slideshow gave the opportunity to see the years flash by in a few minutes as he went from a baby to a man. (If I can figure out how to share, I will.)
Life is a journey. One filled with joys and sorrows. I feel blessed that mine has been filled with so many joys! I'm so very grateful for the opportunity to be a mom. I have six amazing children. Each a unique and precious gift from God. Gifts He continue to use to shape and mold and challenge me. When I began this journey, it was hard to imagine getting to this point. (Much as I might imagine that any of you reading who have small children might feel.)
I remember being told to enjoy the journey. Enjoy your children. The time goes quickly. I think I did that. I have spent time learning and playing. Though I confess at times it is something I have to remind myself to do - not get caught up in the computer or hobbies. I don't want to look back with regrets. I want to live life as fully as I can. I want to look back with joy and thankfulness and look forward to with hope. Christopher, as you embark on a new part of your journey, know that I will always pray for you, always be here for you and always be cheering you on. I pray that you will find much joy - and mostly that you will find more of God!
At this point in the journey, I find myself often thinking of the "lasts". This part is hard. On Sunday at church as I watched Christopher walking one of his brothers to Sunday school, I thought to myself that there won't be many more of these mornings. His summer is full and he won't be back to church until August. I went into church and just couldn't keep the tears in check. Thankfully a dear friend was right there to hug me and just be there for me. God is so good. I'm trying hard not to be sad, but to be thankful for all that I've had. (Christopher has reminded me of this and it is good advice.) I'm looking for ways to be thankful and also to enjoy every moment. To laugh and to live fully in the moment.
As the seasons of our life change, I'm praying more for the future as it is here. He is ready to begin this new adventure. I'm not sure if I'll ever be ready. (Sorry Christopher - just being honest.) One of my friends tells me that things are really sweet in this next step of the journey too. Different and better in some new ways. I'm trying to trust her on that, but honestly, its still hard.
Christopher, I'm excited for you and for all that lays ahead of you. I'm excited to see all that God has in store for you. I'm looking forward to seeing you grow in your faith and to grow and mature into the man God has designed you to be. I pray that you will also be a "Christ-bearer" as your name relates.
For our family, this is a huge change. Huge. For all of us. The dynamics of all that we do will be different. I'm thankful that Christopher will not be too far from home and am hoping we will still see a lot of him. I know that wherever his path leads, that my heart will be there with him. My prayers will always be for him.
Christopher - I love you more than words can express. I'm proud of you and of the man you have become. I'm thankful for you and for so much about you. I love your sense of humor, am thankful for your dependability and excited about your passion for Christ. I have so enjoyed your athletic abilities and hope we'll be able to see more of them. I'm thankful for your intellect and your ability to apply yourself. There are so many things I could list, but most important of all, I'm thankful for you! I love you deeply and always will. I'm so glad that I'm your Mom.
So, even though tears may slip out more often that either of us like, know that its just because there is a well filled with much joy, many precious memories and abundant prayers that at times like this are spilling over. Change is often challenging. I know that through all of us, God is here. Standing firm. Guiding. Directing. Loving. Keep your eyes on Jesus and follow Him through all that lies ahead. I love you, Mom.
Hugs your babies tight. Live in the moment. Not thinking ahead and worrying about what is next. Enjoy. Enjoy the people who are in your life right now! Be thankful. Choose joy.
With a thankful heart (and a tear slipping down my cheek),