Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Graduating Parents

I had the priviledge of attending my cousin's graduation this weekend. It was a ceremony for the Homeschoolers of Eastern Montana. They had a godly judge from their state give the address, which was wonderful, and there were a couple of beautiful music specials from the graduates as well as a touching slide show of photos of the graduates growing up. It was so neat to attend a formal graduation service for homeschoolers. I came away with lots of ideas for when my own kids graduate (many, many years from now). The neatest part was at the end when each set of parents presented their diploma to their child and spoke for a minute about their child and told them how much they loved him/her. To say it was a tear-jerker is an understatement! My dad referred to it afterward as a "sentimental blow-out!" I was surprised my aunt and uncle were able to get through it as I know that I probably wouldn't have been able to in front of all of those people if it were my kid graduating. Many of the moms couldn't speak and let the dads do all the talking. It just struck me how blessed each of these 23 homeschooled high-school grads are to have such loving parents standing there, passing on a public, verbal blessing to them and assuring them of how much they love them.

So many graduations from public institutions are cold and unfeeling. Most people I know have their name butchered by the person reading it and don't have much of a relationship with their teachers/professors, etc. Even if one does happen to be close to a professor/teacher, that teacher doesn't have the wellspring of love for the graduate that his own parents have for him that has spanned a lifetime. I thought it was very fitting that after all the years of sacrifice, hardship, hard work, and pouring themselves into their children, these parents got to taste a bit of a reward in seeing their kids to this big milestone and being the ones to be able to hand them their diploma. Their efforts have really paid off, especially if their kids love the Lord and have character and virtue above academic success. Of course their job as parents isn't over; and in some ways has just begun, but one stage of life is over and another is beginning. I thought it was sweet how many of the husbands looked first to their wives and congratulated them on 13 years of homeschooling (some had even been doing it for 25 years!) and gave them the credit for their child's success. Many of the parents broke down crying as they told their child how much they loved him/her and many of the young men were headed for military service to protect our country with honor and a desire to be missionaries to their fellow soldiers. My uncle reminded my cousin to remember 3 things: Who she is, Whose she is, and Where she is going. He also said a brief prayer for her future. My aunt had a neat quote for her and talked about how she didn't feel she deserved such a wonderful daughter but was so thankful to have been blessed by God with Ashlee.

It was good for me to meet to be surrounded by godly parents who have reached the milestone of seeing kids through their school years and training them in the Lord. Sometimes being a parent is so frustrating and you forget about the end goals. I love being a mom and wouldn't trade it for the world and yet it can wear me to a frazzle when there are no days off and no breaks from my preschooler's energy! Even though our visit to our family's home was fun, there was all the stress of making sure they didn't break things, be too noisy, scream in restaurants or fight over things. For a minute one day I was tempted to have a little pity party and feel so sorry for myself because everyone else could just make their plans and go here and there shopping with no cares or take a nap or read a book but I felt like I was stuck since I had little kids to care for and had Ali constantly bouncing and chattering next to me and being hyper-active and interrupting conversations and slowing me down in the goals I wanted to accomplish shopping. I thought back to the days when I could go to the bathroom in privacy, have a long conversation with my aunt without interruptions, be a quiet guest in someone's home instead of a guest who brings chaos with her, and help out with the meals and dishes to bless the hostess instead of having to chase kids, clean kids, wipe kids' bottoms and supervise kids immediately after every meal. I thought back to the days when I could leisurely shop, not have to think about nap schedules, and not have to hear endless whining and crying on long car trips. The days before sippy cup spills, having to discipline your kids in front of other people, picking up endless clothing and toy messes, and the days where I could sit down for a complete meal without having to jump up a thousand times to get things for the kids.

Though I was tempted to have a pity party and wonder why I'm doing this all over again, starting from scratch in August when I'm already beyond busy with little ones, I reminded myself that these kids are gifts and blessings from God and He will give me the strength I need to get through the tough days. I know that pregnancy makes me more tired than anything else in life and things always look brighter after a good night of sleep. I know that these years will fly by and before you know it I'll be standing on a stage, handing my precious kids a diploma and sending them out of the nest, with sadness at how fast the years have gone. These years are physically exhausting but they are so important and I don't want to just wish them away because there are so many things to enjoy about having tiny and dependant kids.


The Three 22nds said...

Love this post! Good reminders. My favorite line though is about wanting to be "a guest that doesn't bring chaos with her". That is how I feel all the time. I just want to be a "quiet" guest.

I always think about it at Holidays. Everyone else in the family can play games, eat long meals, have conversations etc. and we can't. Thankfully we have a great extended family that all pitches in and helps with our kids, but I still feel like a burden sometimes. I owe so many hours of babysitting to my sisters when they have kids!

But even though I was laughing as I read because it is exactly like my life, I also felt kind of sad because I don't enjoy these moments as much as I should...and I need to start! Thanks for the reminder!

Kristin said...

I also want to thank you for the good reminder. After my incredibly stressful weekend away with my 2 kids, it's something I really needed to be reminded of again.

I'm too tired to write about my weekend tonight, so stay tuned for the details to come, over on my blog.

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