She graduated from high school on Friday and turned 18 on Saturday, then on Sunday spirited me out for a surprise Mother’s Day lunch at Piccadilly because she knew it was where my mother and I always went. She’s my baby-girl-become-woman, my soul friend who knows what my heartbeat sounds like from the inside.
I said goodbye to 25 years of homeschooling and 32 years of parenting children and turned hopeful eyes toward the years ahead as a mother of five adults. I am sad, and I am excited, and I am wistful.
Mostly, I am grateful.
Milestones are like that, if we can briefly sidestep the chaos and cacophony to be thankful for the beauty and meaning of the moment.
Friday I rushed around picking up the last of the party goods and made a rare purchase: a new blouse for me to wear to her ceremony. I smiled, recalling how often she has said things like, “Mom, buy it already! You never get anything new!” So I bought it already, and wore it happily. By evening I was running on pure adrenaline, grinning, snapping pictures like a madwoman, and cheering for my baby.
She crossed the stage like a supermodel in her shiny white cap and gown and pale pink tassel, never missing a step. Happiness was painted all over her face, surrounded by adoring family and friends and her sweetheart by her side. I thought my heart would burst.
I spent Saturday cooking while she and friends celebrated at the beach. I had asked for a list of her favorite foods, and I was determined to make sure I didn’t miss anything. My feet protested the extra work as I bounced from kitchen island to stove to sink and back again, but my heart was busy pondering it all while my hands kneaded dough and braided Stromboli.
Events like these give us perfect opportunities to think deeply and breathe gratitude, even among the noise and hard work and achy limbs. I whispered thanks for a million little things I kept recalling as I worked, frequently gazing across to the “18” she’d formed in photos on the front door and marveling at the growth of our sweet little baby who is now a beautiful young woman. I couldn’t have felt prouder.
Mother’s Day dawned with church and then my surprise Mother-Daughter lunch followed up by a stop at Barnes and Noble to browse books and sip Frappuccinos—two of my favorite things. The grandparents and the boys and their families joined us in the evening for the wildest game of Apples to Apples in family history. More moments to ponder in my heart.
Today I spend reliving it all through photos and recalled memories. We will talk often of these things in the days to come, thanking God for such a wonderful whirlwind weekend. My body is sore but my heart is full, and I struggle to word this gratitude I feel.
I pray this same grateful, hopeful joy for you.
10 thoughts on “When We Whisper Thanks into the Whirlwind”
Beatifully worded, I felt your words in my heart, I have a 3 year old baby girl who is growing up way too fast. I pray I can cherish the moments every day….even the hard ones. Thank you for this.
Thank you, dear friend. Gratitude seems to only multiply the blessing.
Such a beautiful painting you’ve shared here; each stroke of your pen bringing to life the images of true love and thankfulness.
Thank you so much. Sometimes I feel I can’t even contain it all, but still it keeps growing.
Lisa, my friend, oh how this touched my heart and soul.
I, too still remember my two daughters graduations.
The excitement of shopping for the right clothes to wear under the gowns, making sure I had plenty of film for the camera, deciding on what restaurant to go to for the after graduation party. The hustle and bustle to get everything done on time.
But then, the realization hit me too.
I was remembering everything about their childhood, all the good times and yes, even some of the bad times.
I loved my two daughters and once graduation was over, I had to look at them as the beautiful young independent young women they had become.
Then, a new thought hit me.
I was going to be an empty nester.
The oldest daughter moved out. Then the youngest daughter moved out. No!!!! I was not ready for this.
This fact was more horrible to me than when the Doctor told me I was pre-menapausal
This certainly is a bittersweet time, Pat. Your description of your thought process is very close to my own, although I have come through some of the process already with our four boys moving out one by one. I won’t say it was easy, but we maintain close family relationships and that helps more than I could word. I understand your heart, though, in that it is hard to realize I am no longer the mother of a “child” but am now a mother of five adults. I’m sure it will take a while to get used to that. You are in my heart and prayers, my friend.
Lisa, you have shared beautifully the gratitude you have for your children and the wonderful memories that have been formed. I was smiling through the whole read 😀
Thank you, Caryn. I love bringing smiles, and it warms my heart to know that my words touched yours. There are many beautiful memories to ponder, and many more yet to make! Bless you, dear friend.
I love to read your writing. You have a way of sharing your world through words that makes me feel as if I am right there in the midst of it all. Congrats to Miss Rosie!
Michelle, you couldn’t pay me a much nicer compliment. Thank you so much for your encouragement. And thank you–I will pass your wishes on to Rosie.