My oldest, the one who made me a mom, graduated from college with a degree in biology on Friday. He has worked hard both for the degree and to become the responsible, dedicated man he is. He has successfully completed his final weeks of coursework, found a really cool internship opportunity in South Africa, and packed up and moved home all in the wake of his father’s death. I am so proud of him, and his father would be too.
This is our first event without his father. I wanted my son, and my other two kids, to feel their father was a part of this momentous occasion so I found the fraternity pin (they belong to the same fraternity) and I had a battery replaced in one of his father’s old watches for him to wear while he walked. I chose a graduation gift I thought my ex might have chosen with me for our son, a dive watch in the same brand of the last watch I had given my ex and that he had loved and worn every day for the last few years. I think he would approve of my choice for our boy.
It is strange, now, that the responsibility to be sure he is included is mine once again. It is sort of like I have been made the wife again in death. Really, I just love my kids and they loved their dad and I do not want his absence to feel like a gaping hole for them. He loved them. In death, I can be sure they know it.
Watching the graduates walk across the stage, each full of potential and promise and the wildness youth bears, I reflect on how I learn so much about life by watching the young people who are always around me. They are unafraid to take chances, change trajectory, and jump in with both feet at a moment’s notice. How much more important is this sort of impulsivity here 25 or so years older? Now, when I realize how precious life is, how fleeting it might be, how few opportunities we are given to love deeply, or change trajectory, or slow down even – NOW is when I need to embrace that impulsivity and “why not?” way of thinking and embrace all that God may place in my path.
Now is the best time to remember that it is PEOPLE, relationships, that are my treasure. It is the love I have to give and the love bestowed to me that I need to fall to my knees and thank our sweet Lord for placing in my life. He has blessed me in more ways, especially in this last year, than I ever thought possible. He has shown me His love for me through others when I have least expected it. He has answered prayers and opened doors and placed just the right people in my path to push me in the directions He wants me to go. It is lovely, but He wants more.
I may not exactly choose to go and spend weeks or months in South Africa like my son, but you better believe I will not hesitate to go where I am moved to go – I am not going to worry away my opportunities to live, LIVE my life with love and laughter and drama and all the other good and bad and wonderful and tragic days that this life may hold for me. I will be open and free to travel or even move if I am so moved by God to do so. I am thankful for my Lifetime moments as much as my Hallmark moments. I am thankful to just feel again, all of the feels, to have been broken open and set free to experience life once again. It’s funny how a graduation ceremony reminded me of all of that. Why is this so hard to hold in every day life?
I only have this ONE life. That. Is. It.
I want to live it body and soul.
Let us all . . .
Love with wild abandon.
Be present. Be present. Be present.