My post is a little late going up today because I had to go to my daughter’s elementary graduation ceremony this morning. I wasn’t expecting it to take nearly as long as it did, so I am now behind on everything! That means that I will be playing catch-up all day. Anyway, yes, my baby is growing up. She is now officially a middle schooler. The slide show that they played was the one thing that got to me this morning. (No I didn’t cry because that would have embarrassed her beyond belief.) There was a picture of my daughter when she was in kindergarten next to a current picture. Even though I sent in the pictures and knew they were coming, it still got to me seeing that little tiny kindergartner next to the young girl I see every day now. She is still a tiny little thing, but you can certainly see how she has grown and changed over the past few years. She doesn’t look like a baby anymore, but more importantly she is growing into a beautiful young lady. I can’t help but think about how much she and I have been through together…from her birth and first months of life while her dad was deployed, to all of her medical stuff, to navigating feelings and emotions, to now. It has been a really long and bumpy road so far. I feel like she and I are in a much better place than we used to be, but I know that road will continue to be full of hills and valleys that we have to navigate through. I know that things with her will never be easy, but I will tell you that she and I are both stronger females because of it all. My friends once gave me a little wooden box with this saying on it, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” I think this saying applies to both my daughter and me. We have both had to overcome many challenges because we had no other choice. Those challenges and experiences are what fuels us both. I am so amazed by her kind, caring heart, her quick wit, and her strength. She is wise well beyond her years. She absorbs everything and processes it in ways that go beyond the way many adults do. She is growing into an incredible person despite all she has been through.
It is sad to think about the end. So many times that is what we focus on…the end of elementary school, the end of high school, the end of the year, the end of a career, the end of a marriage. We tend to reflect on the past and feel saddened that something is over. We think about what we are loosing. What we should really be focusing on instead is the beginning and all that we have to gain. When one door closes, another door opens. While it is ok to reflect on the past and remember, it is also important to reflect on the future and what is yet to come. Our past often helps to shape our future, but we don’t need to dwell on the past. Instead of thinking of it as the end, think of it as the start of something new…a new chapter, a new beginning, a fresh start. While it is sad to think that I will no longer have a child in elementary school and that my baby is growing up, I am excited to see what this next chapter will bring for her. I am excited to watch her grow into her own unique self. I am excited for new beginnings. I welcome them. Remember the next time you are focusing on the end to stop and think about the beginning. Turn your frown upside down and smile with confidence for what is yet to come.