As I’ve said before, I always write my publisher’s letter the night before we go to print, and the topic is whatever is on my mind at the time. Tonight is that night and tomorrow morning I will wake up and send my baby girl to school her first day of her last year. Her first day as a high school senior. Where did the time go?
This particular event has hit me hard. I’m so excited and proud of her but extremely emotional at the same time. It seems like yesterday we stayed awake at night and stared at her under the soft light of the night light that shadowed her tiny face. When we did sleep, it was with our hand on her back to assure ourselves she was breathing. You see, she was our tiny 30 week baby, weighing in at just three pounds and entering the world early, fighting for her life. She showed so much strength in her determination to beat all odds and overcome every obstacle while in NICU. She came home just 13 days after she was born, when it was predicted she would be there for at least eight weeks. She was born a fighter and an overachiever, and I became the over protector.
By 18 months, her vocabulary was that of a four year old. She memorized every story to every book we bought and read to her, and never let us skip a page to shorten the bedtime story. We soon welcomed her baby brother into the family, and she was not sure she wanted to share the spotlight.
I blinked my eyes and she was in preschool. Who could forget Mrs. Funderburk at Gaston Christian School, who had her reading before kindergarten?
Two blinks of the eye and she was headed to middle school, where she quickly became the soccer star, developed her sense of style, started making friendships and had her first crush. She even began to like her brother as he entered middle school, and she became his protector.
Three blinks and she was off to high school. Her determination that I witnessed in the incubator has resurfaced into academic success. She is a kind, compassionate, caring and beautiful young lady with her head on straight, setting goals and choosing friends who make her an even better person. She is able to lead and not follow. She balances and doesn’t fall. She makes my heart swell with pride and my eyes fill with tears at the thought of her entering those halls for the first time, on the first day, in her last year.
Four blinks and my eyes are getting heavy. As I go to sleep tonight I will say a special prayer for her and all 2015 seniors. I pray for a wonderful year that fulfills every hope and dream they can imagine. I will awake to a sad morning for myself. She will leave the house to meet up with her classmates for morning activities on cloud nine. I’ll smile and say, “I love you, drive carefully.” I’ll have a good cry, but know deep down that my job as her mom is more fulfilling than any career I could have. I see my success in her. I see it in her attitude, her witty personality, her successes and her passion for people. Each time I receive a compliment from a teacher, coach or any adult, I see a job well done. I should shed tears of joy for the young lady I have, with the help of her wonderful dad, mold into a beautiful girl inside and out. I know I share the same feeling as many, many other moms out there tonight.
Five blinks and I fast forward in my mind to this time next year: college. Okay, maybe I won’t sleep a wink. Until then, I’ll hold on to when she recently told her dad and me, “I’ve had the most wonderful childhood.” With that I say goodnight. Then I’ll grab my tissue box and pat myself on the back.
Until next time… Children are our precious gems. You’ve got one chance at this life. Choose your words and time wisely.
Pam L. Goode