Mark and I have officially graduated. And to be perfectly honest, we feel a little cheated. We didn’t get a ceremony. We didn’t get the cap and gown, or even the little rolled up piece of paper with the ribbon tied around it.
There were no parties. No big sheet cake with, “Congratulations, Graduate!” There were no gifts. And – this is the worst – there were no cards with money inside them.
And what, pray tell, did we graduate from?
We are now, officially, “Mom and Dad.”
To be perfectly honest, our daughter has been calling me “Mom” for a while now. But there was still the occasional “Mama,” and every once in a while, “Mommy” would slip in. Mark, on the other hand, has always been “Daddy.” Now, he’s just plain “Dad.”
And it’s killing him.
When did this come about? When did our little girl become a . . . big girl? She’s lived with us her whole life. How could this happen right before our eyes? When did we blink?
It’s more than just the name thing. She has suddenly developed a new hobby. Talking on the phone. And just a short while ago, we could say, “We’re going to Wal-Mart!” and we would actually leave our driveway within a reasonable amount of time. Now, we say, “We’re going to Wal-Mart,” and then we wait. And wait. And wait some more while she changes her clothes three times and fixes her hair and reapplies her tinted lip balm.
But even though the transition is breaking our hearts, we are proud. We are so proud of the young lady who is kind and thoughtful, who is funny and witty and helpful, who makes friends easily and reads everything she can get her hands on, and who, someday, wants to be a missionary to
Yes, we are proud. But that doesn’t mean we like it.
Not one bit.
You’d think proud and happy would go together. But that’s not always the case. I can’t help but think of the parents of our military men and women. I know that none of them are happy about having their children shipped off to fight in a foreign country. Proud, yes. Happy, no.
I wish that we could have our cake and eat it too, don’t you? I wish I could keep that little girl who rode around on my hip. But I wouldn’t trade my big girl for anything. I wish we didn’t have to send anybody to fight anywhere. But I’m so grateful that we have young men and women who are willing to step up to the plate and protect our homeland.
There are some transitions in life that we just have to go through. And though we may not be happy about each and every change, we have a choice. We can fight them, kicking and screaming like children, or we can accept those changes with dignity and grace. We can learn and grow and become better people. Or we can continue on without learning a thing. But that doesn’t leave much to be proud of.
So, all in all, I suppose I could learn to like being a graduate. I could learn to like being called “Mom” instead of “Mommy.” After all, I now have a shopping buddy. I have someone to give me fashion advice. I have a friend.
And that makes me both happy and proud.
1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”