Commencement

I sit writing under the comfort of my new weighted blanket.  They are all the rage these days.  They were recommended to me when Matthew was little to calm him and help him sleep, and now everyone is using them…and I must say, it does have quite a soothing effect.  It seems I need this these days, big changes are brewing with Lauren graduating from high school and another, more permanent move on the horizon. I have already lost my keys and my wallet this week, I’ve pushed a little past zen and this blog is coming out a little raw.

Every day the tears come, and I have to sit with the bittersweet realization that my girl is going off to college. Through all of our change, the four of them are a unit and it’s hard to see that shift.  I wake up in the night and picture our mornings, when I was pregnant with Matthew, Luke was in preschool, and Kate was still taking those blissful morning naps.  Lauren was in what, at the time, I thought was cursed PM kindergarten, but now I know those mornings were such a blessing because that was our time. It feels like yesterday. As mom’s we are so often trying to carve out that moment to ourselves, but when I look back, there is nothing that I treasure more than those simple one on one conversations and activities with them, at any age.  I feel so blessed today to know that those bonds that I have worked to build with them, starting with trips to the car wash, Target, and the zoo, have held strong. This week, as Lauren prepares to graduate, I sit and watch this beautiful, independent, and inspiring girl set the tone for her siblings, like she has from day one. 

After everything we have been through as a family, watching them belong to each other is a silver lining of our struggle.  They fit together in the most beautiful way, whether I am with them or not and it makes me so proud.  

I work hard to reframe these milestones, that, in my gut, present me with a deep sadness because my life and family don’t look the way that I thought it would. There has been lots of time on my yoga mat and making the choice to slow down this week, in the midst of so much hustle and change, to take care of myself and honor the feelings (and tears) that keep flooding my system. While I am a huge believer in honoring what we feel, I still struggle sometimes to just let the tears fall. I’m so thankful to my people who remind me to just feel it and let it happen.

The challenges I have faced though have also improved my ability to reframe my experiences.  It’s where that optimist’s lens really comes in handy, and, I think I have figured out the outlook that lifts the graduation fog.  

It’s not an ending, it’s a beginning.  Graduation and commencement, the words are interchangeable, but one is an ending, the other a great new beginning.  

There is so much promise and excitement with beginnings.  New experiences and things to learn, new friends, fresh paint, new views from your windows that have the ability to give a fresh perspective, if we have gathered the right tools from the road we have traveled so far.

Lauren, you have the tools, it seems like you always have.  

Keep what is good, be honest with yourself so you can release the patterns that hold you back, and use what you have learned doing that to embrace the new.

My joke to people that you raised yourself is only partially in jest.  You have always had the keenest sense for what you bring to this life and to other people.  You have a way of being comfortable with your strength without being overbearing and your intrinsic motivation inspires me everyday. You have learned lessons at your age that have taken me half a lifetime to figure out.  I watch as your siblings gravitate to you and learn from your leadership. You have made my job infinitely easier as a mom of four by setting such a strong example for them. They listen to your words that come in what seems like simple sibling banter but is full of so much wisdom. You know what works for you at this point in your life and have the confidence to go after it.  I love to watch you beat back the absolutely natural feeling to conform. It’s a struggle for all of us, but always know that the right people will surround you when you are true to yourself.

So here this morning, we are off to watch you begin... I couldn’t be prouder of the person you are. You will always be the one that started me on this journey that I could not possibly love any more. Keep shining your light in this world, I am so blessed to have lived where it has been cast for the last 18 years and can’t wait to see the next fields that grow because of it. I love you more than you will ever know. Keep being you, it’s like nothing I have ever seen anywhere else.