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Grown Up

Every once in a while, life sneaks up behind you, taps you on the shoulder, and when you turn around, you get smacked in the face.

This month my second son and third child, Justin, will graduate from high school. I feel a little bit like Wile E. Coyote must have when he heard the “beep, beep” as the Road Runner passed him by yet again: I can’t help but wonder how anything can disappear so quickly. The fast passage of time is one of those things we can’t completely comprehend until we start wearing sunglasses to protect our eyes from the glow of the candles on our birthday cake.

I don’t know how other moms feel, but for me my children’s first day of kindergarten and watching them graduate are similar experiences. They are both a step toward separation; they are both goodbyes to childhood.

Because I am a school board member, I will be able to hand my son and his friends their diplomas. I plan on having a box of tissues close by, and will share them with the mothers of the boys who have spent many nights in my basement and raided my refrigerator the last four years. I hope they know I love them, too, and that our house will always have an open-door policy for them.

If my son were to ask for my advice on this momentous occasion (he won’t, but I’ll give it to him anyway), I would tell him to do his best to live every day in a way that will bring honor to God, his family, and himself, and when he makes a mistake, to pick himself up, dust himself off, and try again.

I would encourage him to find what he loves doing and incorporate it into a career: success is not solely defined by the size of a paycheck. Money is necessary, but it definitely isn’t the key to happiness.

And finally, I would remind him that no matter how fast things change or how quickly time passes, some things remain constant, and one of those is a mother’s love.

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