As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Three years ago, I attended the graduation service provided by our local homeschool group. Two of the four graduates were family friends. I walked into the service an emotionally stable person, but it was not to last, for at the first notes of "Pomp and Circumstance", I became a blubbering mess. I sniffled and sobbed all the way through the ceremony and it was then that I knew. In three short years, my Kati would be graduating and I would be a blubbering mess again...only this time it would be in front of everyone!
When my older two children graduated, our homeschool group did not have a formal graduation, and our friends-and-family parties and backyard presentations of diplomas were meaningful and memorable. But Kati's desire lay more in the cap-and-gown and the "Pomp and Circumstance" and the photo slide show sort of graduation, so that is what we did.
My Kati is a planner, so while I planned how I was going to make my presentation without crying (ha!), Kati jumped into planning her graduation announcement (and dragged me along included me in her design choices), and planning her slide show (and forced me to look at included me in perusing eighteen years worth of pictures), and planning her guest list and cap and gown color and shoes. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am a planner myself and get obsessive excited about the details of planning a party—did I tell you about Bekah's French-themed birthday party?—but Kati is not a procrastinator and I am and that's why she had to drag me along while I was still planning how not to cry.)
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Last weekend was the graduation service, and it was everything that Kati had wanted it to be. We are grateful to have had this special day as a "marker" on her life's journey...a day that marks the end of one leg of the journey, and the beginning of another.
As expected, the processional brought me to tears, but they were happy tears.
Each of the six graduates presented a slide show of photographs set to music of their choosing. And I cried through those too. Kati had chosen a favorite hymn, "Be Thou My Vision," and we watched her grow up on the big screen.
After her slide show, Ron and I both made remarks to Kati as we presented her with her high school diploma. Do you think that, after the three years of preparation, I was able to hold it together? No. But Kati said she knew that I would cry, and it would be okay...and then she went and cried too! And it was okay, because, again, they were happy tears, tears of rejoicing, tears of gratitude.
A beloved friend and elder in our home fellowship gave the commencement address. He challenged the graduates from Micah 6:8. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"
HOMESCHOOL CLASS OF 2011
Kati shared the day with some longtime friends. Hunter's mom and I were carrying our babies (in the tummy!) to homeschool swim class over eighteen years ago...and Hunter and Kati have participated in lots of homeschool activities together ever since, from art classes to co-ops. Kati and her friend Kate were gymnastics buddies for many years.
She also shared the day with family.
I have decided to end this very long and sniffly and lingering post by sharing with you the words that I said to Kati as we presented her with her diploma:
When I was expecting you, 11 years after my last baby, your brother, I was determined that I would not rush this time around. When Kristin and Ryan were both little, I seemed always anxious for the next stage. When will she sleep through the night? When will I not have two in diapers at the same time? When will they be able to learn to walk, learn to dress themselves, learn to read? Always looking ahead.
But with this baby, I thought to myself, I will just take my time. I will not be looking ahead. I am going to live in the moment and enjoy each stage thoroughly, for by this time, I was an older and somewhat wiser mother, and I knew that those stages passed all too quickly...and that little girl and that little boy had grown up too fast and were on the brink of independence and young adulthood.
So I savored your babyhood and did not wish ahead one day. I also savored the toddler years and tried to eke out as much as I could. But I’m afraid that my grand experiment did not work out quite the way I had hoped, for although I did savor and enjoy those days, they did not pass any more slowly... and it seems that all of a sudden I am here again, at another graduation, at another milestone, only this time it is you, and, again, I am not ready, for the years and the days have flashed before my eyes. My mother’s heart wishes to hold on, and yet it is here and I cannot.
I may regret that time moves too rapidly, but I do not regret, never, not for a second, that we have had these years. I do not regret investing the time and effort to homeschool. I have treasured our days and our teatimes and our read alouds. I have enjoyed our laughs and even our tears, and our many, many, many conversations. I have delighted in watching you grow into a kind and gentle young woman who loves to read and loves to learn and loves to sing hymns and, most of all, loves the Lord and seeks to walk in His ways.
It is such a bittersweet moment for a homeschool mama...to have her children move away from childhood and into adulthood, because, although we are so proud of you and are excited to see you walk forward, yet we also grieve the end of a season.
I will say to you what Paul said to Timothy:
“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”(II Timothy 3:14, 15)
Kaitlyn Grace, I pray that you will always walk in His grace...trust in His wisdom...stand on His truth...and lean on His mercy.