This year the first of my babies received a diploma. When I look at her, I see so much more than a high school graduate.
I see a little girl who loves to jump on her bed, singing boisterously. A girl who pulls out every stuffed animal and doll in the house so we can have picnics on the floor. A girl with adventure in her veins and screams in her throat as the roller coaster races around the track, begging, at the end, to do it again. A sweet child who loves making faces in every available shiny surface. One who rides her new bike proudly on her 6th birthday. A girl who believes every fountain is made for children.
I see a girl sitting on her bed strumming the guitar and singing at the top of her lungs. A girl excited about a new story she is writing. A teenager chatting on-line with friends. I remember the giggles of childhood being replaced by the giggles of adolescence. A young lady overcoming fear and replacing it with faith. An older sister cheering on her sisters in a snowball fight against Dad. I see a girl struggle to discover who she is and I see her emerge victorious as a beautiful lady adorned with our Father’s love and grace.
Graduation is a mile marker and only tells a small part of her story. Those attending Rachel’s graduation ceremony came to applaud her completion of high school. More than that, they came to celebrate where she has been and where she is going.
I look back over the last 17 years, and I feel blessed by the journey. It definitely wasn’t always easy. (Some days I was certain that aliens had taken over my daughters body. And to be fair, I’m sure she felt the same way about me at times.) Laughter, tears, love, anger, joy. It’s all part of the parenting package.
Little did I know that my Father would use my children to mold me and make me more like Him. Sure, my role as a parent is to teach, train, and model a godly life for my child. But I learned patience as I waited for my two year old to “do it by herself.” I gained perseverance as I answered the same “why” question over and over and over again. Creativity grew as I explored the wonders of God’s creation with my preschooler.
I grew in other ways, too. I saw myself, my speech and habits, mirrored before me. My words, my actions were played out in my children. They were a reflection of me and I was meant to be a reflection of Christ.
When I look at my daughter, all dressed up for graduation, I see a beautiful person. I see the incredible child she was; I see the amazing girl she is; and I have no doubt of the wonderful woman she will become.
I love you, sweet Rachel!