I started preparing for this about a year ago. I got real serious about it when we rang in 2011. Yikes! The year I've been waiting for had finally arrived. Where had the time gone for my "little" girl? I was blessed to be able to plan an event with 11 other homeschool families, many of them had already graduated a child, so they had innovative ideas of what to do. I love planning parties, so that was all pretty easy. But then, in the quiet of the morning, the thought of my baby girl launching out into the world would hit and I'd cry like the baby! This went on for months. Then the ladies tell me that each set of parents would prepare and read a charge for their student. What? Not someone calling their name and then we hand over the diploma? We have to SAY something??? I knew we were in trouble now! I needed to have a plan as to how to get myself under control, so I searched for the triggers of the flood of tears.
One faucet was the two empty seats that wouldn't be occupied at either ceremony - the ones of my mother and mother-in-law who both went to be with Jesus just short of her special day. Not too many students loose two grandparents during their high school years. We know though that Haley has made her Granny & Grandma proud. We will continue to mourn this and many other celebrations, but not like those who have no hope. We shall rejoice in the hope we hold.
Then I think about all the mistakes I've made. I don't know how many times I think, "Well, if we had just done this. . . . it would've been better." Scripture tells us that when we are weak, He is strong. His grace has been sufficient to not only cover my mistakes, but to go above and beyond anything I could ever imagine. When I consider how good He has been to me through her, I'm overwhelmed. I deserve none of her accomplishments. It's all grace - more tears! We shall rejoice in His goodness.
It is easy to feel sad that her formal education is complete and she is prepared to leave our home and go out into this world. Thankfully for me, I get her home at least one more year, but that doesn't mean she's not equipped with what she needs to succeed. But I knew I reached the day of graduation with absolutely NO guilt that I wish I'd spent more time with her. I tried to make the most of each day, training her in the way she should go, and she's ready. This is exactly what we wanted. No regrets. We reached our goal! We shall rejoice in His faithfulness.
So given all this that I should be "happy" about, why would I come to the ceremony in tears? Well, I'm a woman, and I fully understand the idea of being the weaker vessel. We had to put some safeguards in place just to make sure I didn't become a blubbering idiot. As the head of the house, our headmaster, and lead; Tim would have the duty of reading the charge. He's strong. He can handle that. The words I chose were light and fun - words of Dr. Seuss. Actually, I had the part from Dr. Seuss' ABC's memorized. I did however worry about reading, "be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea." I just kept practicing many times - slowly. We did a photo shoot in her cap and gown a few weeks before. This eliminated the shock of seeing her in it the first time that day.
When we got to the end of the ceremony, I was surprised at how well I made it through. Tim and I gave each other a high five after the final benediction and recessional. God's grace was poured out on us big time that day. And we will rejoice because the work that God began in Haley we are confident will be carried on to completion.