Friday, June 19, 2020
Today my daughter, Madilyn graduates from middle school. It is definitely unlike the graduation I had in mind when she began 8th grade in September. Traditions like class trips, dances, and musical performances, that should have encompassed her final year in middle school didn’t happen. Instead, we spent many long hours together in our home. We talked more, watched movies together, discussed books and music, got on each other’s nerves, and hugged a little tighter each night. And then it hit me. I was getting to know my daughter. Every day before this unique situation was a race to the finish line. We were robots. Get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, part ways, come home, off to some extracurricular activity, eat dinner (don’t take too long because it was already late), clean up, prepare for the next day, shower, go to bed, and repeat. Rushing through the days, and weeks pining for summer break, and not realizing summer break meant the end of the journey. A journey that could have been taken for granted if life hadn’t been abruptly interrupted. I would not have had the chance to sit alongside my thirteen-year-old while watching her virtual graduation. It was something shared between us and not among a crowd of people. Though Madilyn may not have had the traditional end to her 8th-grade year, she did spend enough time to enjoy the best of it, and ultimately I was able to enjoy the best of her.
I am very excited, very proud of my young lady. No longer a child, not quite a woman, but a beautiful, loving, kind-hearted young LADY. Madilyn may not understand this yet, but embarking on this new journey to high school is a signal that she is about the enter a world that will become more hers than mine. It is probably the most difficult stage of adulthood. She will navigate classes I can no longer help her with (let’s be honest she has probably helped me more when having to deal with her younger sister’s fifth-grade work!). There will be influences trying to pull her away from the path that is set for her. It is going to suck sometimes. She may find herself in situations where her decisions and opinions will be different than those around her. But that’s OK, and it’s OK to say no. I will continue to be her guide for as long as she lets me. I will continue to be the voice of reason whether or not she wants to hear it because I have many more years of experience in the game called life.
She has shown me what it is to expect greatness. Her drive and tenacity to finish every marking period with high honors is remarkable. The countless days spent researching which colleges require pre-requisite courses, comparing the SAT and ACT to decide which of the two is better to take or just take both, and her dedication to music is inspiring. She has a unique ability to transcribe music notes from a viola to a piano. She can listen to a song, identify the notes, and play it near perfectly the first time. Even though I nudge her to learn to read the music instead, I’m in awe.
This is just the beginning of a life that that is sure to be filled with achievements. May she expect those achievements. Push for them, demand them, work for them, and enjoy every moment of the journey on her way to greatness. No matter what obstacles may be in her way, she needs to remember to keep moving forward.
Even though this is my own advice, I am thankful for the lessons she has taught me. She has impacted my life so deeply without even trying and possibly without even knowing. I’m so very grateful I was chosen to be her mom, and blessed to call her my daughter. I wish her nothing but happiness and success, but most importantly to remember this time when life stood still. If even for a moment, be still and listen. You will be amazed at how much is learned from silence.