“Well Mom, eerybody like cake.”
This (what Donkey said to Shrek) was the answer I got when I inquired about a graduation cake for my son, who was ending his high school career last week.
Yes, it’s true. Everyone does like cake.
It was chocolate, with chocolate frosting. And it was mostly gone, the day after the big event.
Any of you who have been to your own kid’s commencements know this event is a tornado of emotions – a swirling mixture of pride, astonishment, and nostalgia.
During that ceremony, we watched as our youngest said farewell to one of the most significant portions of his life thus far.
I felt joy – we could recognize his deep bass undergirding the large choir, magnified throughout the stadium. There was amazement, as I wondered at how 18 years had passed since I brought home this little boy, burritoed in a small blanket – one who is now over six feet tall and weighs twice as much as his older sister. I felt sadness for him, as I knew he would rarely again interact with most of the people in his class of 400.
You can’t comprehend at 18 how much your life will change in the ensuing 4-5 years. Its like a whole second life.
Graduations, weddings, funerals … these kinds of events give us a momentary pause, where we get to honor the more lofty spaces in our lives. We are afforded an opportunity to do our very best to live exactly in that moment and soak it all in.
The temptation for us all is to get derailed on temporal things that really don’t matter – what will I wear? What will we eat? Oh my, look at the traffic, or that screaming kid beside us. But none of that matters.
At least not to me. My obsession: are we doing in such a way that we will have no regrets? Because there are no do-overs for these kinds of events.
Does he know that I love him? Does he feel seen? Is he aware that I am engaged and there, fully present for him? It is his day, after all.
Of course, there were small dramas that happened throughout the day and I prayed almost continually:
“Jesus, let this be about him. Come between me and my struggles. Let me be the mom he needs me to be today.”
I think it went well. We smiled a lot. I cried some. There were many hugs between he and all who were there who loved him. He was surprised and delighted by his gifts. All in all, it was a good day; an excellent start toward a new chapter in life. : )