It was the question on everyone’s tongue last year; “What are you going to do when Jenny graduates?”
Take your pick . . . “live a little,” “go on a date,” “save $200 on gas money not going to ball games.”
I didn’t cry at graduation. I was too exhausted. She has been pretty “high maintenance” over the years, not that she ever asked for material things, but being involved in her life meant running my tail off chasing her.
I suspect we’ll both go through adjustments when she leaves for school in the fall, and it may be Wil who has the most adjustments as I get to shift all my attention to him (and boy, is he thrilled at that prospect).
I will miss her resiliency.
I’m pretty good with challenges I can see coming at me. When I have time to plan and think and react, I’m pretty solid. It’s the ones which blindside me that I have trouble with. In fact, I simply fall apart.
The car doesn’t start, I fall apart.
The basement floods, I fall apart.
The cake burns, I fall apart.
Jenny doesn’t. She doesn’t break at adversity; she bends ever so slightly until she’s again riding the wave instead of bucking the wind.
An old, handwritten Mother’s Day card is tacked up next to my computer . . . . (an “I didn’t buy you a card, but here’s what I think of you” card). At the bottom she wrote this:
“Remember, life doesn’t have to be complicated.”
She’s right; it doesn’t.
Too often, we make it complicated.
Too often, she was telling me, I make it complicated.
When I fret over cars and basements and cakes, I make it complicated. When I plan too much for one day, I make it complicated. When I break instead of bend, I make it complicated.
Sometimes we just need to let the crummy things happen and go on—without fretting or analyzing or trying to fix them or plotting revenge.
It’s okay to just ride it out and go on.
Mary Caroline Richard said this: “We must be steady enough in ourselves, to be open and to let the winds of life blow through us, to be our breath, our inspiration; to breathe with them, mobile and soft in the limberness of our bodies, in our agility, our ability, as it were, to dance, and yet to stand upright.”
When the challenges of life start to close in around me, it only takes a few things to remind me that my most important job is to produce happy children; not spoiled children; not children who have never been told no; not children who have everything their way; just happy children who have a healthy self worth so that no matter where they land in life, they’ll always land on their feet.
So graduation night, I sat back and breathed a sigh of relief. I watched her pick up that diploma and said to myself “Job well done” . . . to both of us.
If you rephrase 2 Peter 1:5-11 from a mother’s point of view, you get something like this: Cultivate faith, goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love in your children. For if they are growing in these qualities, they won’t be ineffective or unproductive, and they will never stumble.