Starting the Next Chapter

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“I don’t think I am handling this very well,” I admitted to my husband.

It all started last week. I went to the high school to pick our daughter up from an event. Since she and her friends began driving, I haven’t had to retrieve her from school very often. As I turned into the parking lot, tears welled up in my eyes.

This was one of the last times I would be at this school. With the exception of one more concert, that is it. She is our last to graduate. Twenty-five years of children in school and it is over.

I graduated from high school 35 years ago. Our oldest daughter graduated 12 years ago, when our baby was in kindergarten. With the continuation of education for our sons and youngest daughter, the Class of 2015 seemed so far off in the distance.

And yet, I blinked, and here we are. The next chapter of our lives.

This morning, it was a chilly 50 degree morning, and as I snapped photos, it felt more like a fall send-off then a summer kick-off.

The last day of school.

It is so bittersweet. I remember the excitement of my graduation, and the feeling of saying goodbye to teachers and friends. Today, our little girl felt those same emotions.

I thought I’d be better equipped to handle these emotions, and maybe in a few days I will. But for the moment, I am trying to savor every single moment. We will attend the Honors Convocation. Prom will keep us busy for the next few days. The Senior Choir Recital and Commencement next week will make me think twice about applying mascara.

Trust me when I say that I am over-the-moon proud of this young lady and everything she has accomplished. I am so excited about the opportunities that lay in front of her as she prepares for college this fall.

Like a riveting novel, each page I have turned in my motherhood journey has been filled with excitement and terror.

Because I knew this day was coming, I prepared myself the best I could, setting some goals just for me. This fall, I will have more time to write, and I can concentrate on the two memoirs I have been trying to write. My schedule won’t be dictated by sporting events or rehearsals or recitals.

I also made a decision, and I put the video camera down and enjoyed living in the moment this past year. I may regret that, but there was something to be said about seeing it all happen in real life, as opposed to viewing her last school year through a camera lens. That was liberating.

Additionally, I backed down from school volunteer commitments, not just because of the lack of time, but because I knew that this chapter would end. It may sound selfish, but I didn’t want to miss the beginning or the end of an event. I also knew that I would need to explore volunteer opportunities that didn’t revolve around a school schedule. That, too, was liberating.

My dear baby girl, may God continue to bless you as you move on to the next chapter of your life. You have filled our home with joy, love, song and glitter! You have inspired me by your goal-setting and your tenacity. Through some very tough obstacles, you have soared!

Will we miss you next fall? Absolutely. But we wouldn’t think of letting anything get in the way of your future or your dreams. Go, with our love and our prayers, and know that we have your back.

As we finish this chapter of our lives, we will remember that it is just that – a chapter. The book is nowhere near the end, which is great, because you can’t set down a page-turner novel such as this. I won’t promise not to cry, but know that they are tears of pride and joy.

It’s kind of cool that we are in this together, ready for changes and personal growth. Now, go write your next chapter, as we write ours.

And know this – we can’t wait to read it.

© Lynne Cobb – 2015

“Every story has an end, but in life every end is a new beginning.” Dakota Fanning (Uptown Girls)

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