“Nashville is colder than a milkshake.” It’s what my grandmother used to say, and this past weekend it was true. The temperature dipped low, the wind whipped, making it feel even colder. But even the frigid temps could not diminish the warmth in my heart. Aaron graduated from Belmont University with a business degree in entrepreneurship and I couldn’t be more proud. There is something about watching your child accomplish something big that makes you stand a little taller. I think knowing that it wasn’t easy, that there were times when he was so sick of school he wanted to walk away but that he didn’t, gives a parent a feeling of gratification. It did me anyway. I am thankful that he had the determination to stick it out. The ceremony was typical of every other graduation I have attended…a student speaker chatting about her time at the college, a motivational speech and pomp and circumstance. There was nothing exceptional about it, other than the fact that my son was one of many who walked across the stage. One of the many who crammed into a too-small space afterward, trying to get pictures…for the sake of the parents. I always cry at these monumental moments. My tears neatly fit into the category of “childhood firsts and lasts.” First day of school. First time driving away. Last band concert. Last school play. They ebb and flow marking time that seems to me to be flying by at a greatly accelerated rate.
Sitting at dinner afterward, with all my adult boys and a couple of their girlfriends, I think I caught a glimpse of the next stage of my life. Laughter and conversation lulled me into a place of contentment. For a couple of hours all the what-comes-next questions were far away. There was only the recognition of a job well done, and treasured together time celebrating that fact. Spending the next day watching Tolkien as we have so often done, taking in the city, boys ragging each other, opening gifts, sharing meals…all of it was so in the moment. So right now. I do love it when I am afforded the opportunity to freeze time and I recognize and seize it. So many times I am distracted, or overwhelmed or just too busy to freeze frame. Then I look back and wonder why I missed so much. Part of living fully is knowing when to take it all in and capture the feelings. Etch them on your heart and in your mind, understanding that time rarely gives this chance and that soon it will be forever gone, on to a new day with new challenges.
This Christmas season has been so very different. A transition. Boys turning into men right before my eyes. My girl away changing the world as the woman she has become. Each one with their own life-path as I sit on the sidelines and cheer them on, not actively participating…at least not like I once did. I must say it is not an easy change to make, but watching the transformation of my kids into adults has given me a respect for each of them. They are making their choices and finding their way. I won’t lie, it makes my heart ache at the same time I am smiling. Since they were little have always wondered and anticipated who they would become, and now I am SEEING it happen. I am amazed. They are far from settled…but they are stepping out there, into the world and into LIFE. I bear witness to their lives, which are now separate from mine.
This holiday put the pressure, busyness, and stuff aside. Be in the moment. Capture it. Relish it. Hold on to it. It is not like all the ones before it…it is unique. See it for what it is…a moment of joy and celebration. Freeze frame.