“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Dr. Seuss
It’s May, even if you aren’t attending a graduation ceremony, you’re being swept up in the current of emotion. So many memories. So many bright possibilities.
This week we divided our time between celebrating our granddaughter’s elementary school achievements and attending meetings and tours of the middle school where she will go in the fall. Yes, middle school.
And she’s not just growing up, she’s also growing taller.
I spent weeks denying it, but Mother’s Day photos proved Valerie Rains’ point. By Tuesday I had prepared a concession speech and a new nickname for her: BFG.
The good news is I am not shrinking. The bad news is I am not comfortable standing in any room where BFG is also standing. When it’s dinner time, I shall be seated first. When she gets out of the car, I’ll pretend to look for something on the floor board until she is in the house. I can hug her good night from a seated position. At least until the sting of it goes away. The reality is my little is no longer a little.
The problem is not that I am shorter. The problem is that time is short.
When my oldest was a junior in high school, he started packing his room. That acceptance letter was all he needed to prepare his brain for college. Before I could wrap my mom brain around that, we were putting him on a plane to attend graduate school overseas.
Sitting in that middle school library this week brought back all those feelings. A mixture of pride and fear and being unprepared for what’s to come.
She’s just inches away from becoming an adult.
BFG’s goals when she graduated from kindergarten were: attending truck driving school for girls, then becoming a basketball player. Now, she dreams of dancing her way to med school where she will live (alone, she stressed to us) because getting an apartment would be too expensive.
These new dreams come from a BFG who is becoming kinder and more patient every day. She is almost discreet in her need for the spotlight. Her jokes and pranks are more refined and she no longer puts her knees up at the table.
She encourages and consoles others and pushes herself harder.
Someday comes so quickly.
Though it seemed to sneak up on me, BFG did not really grow up overnight. She matured slowly and (seemingly) without effort. With every inch she grew, she grew comfortable with who she was becoming.
None of the things she is this year have come from fear-based advice I’ve shared, like “It’s not a race.” and “Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up.”
They came from knowledge and experience and a little voice inside her that said, “That’s it. Now I get it.”
Each piece of understanding became a step toward something else.
Without being told how, she handled herself differently. Different just started feeling right.
I think I could use that wisdom in my own life now.
And this would be my new advice: We are never too old to set a new goal and never too young to teach something.
Do you have graduates this year? What advice do you have for them?