Tuesday, May 20, 2014

graduating from the small things

i know that in just a matter of days she'll march across a stage and receive her diploma. her name will be read and applause will be heard. she'll toss her cap high in the air and pose readily for 100 pictures with her dearest friends.

and i know i will feel it tight in my throat and hard in my stomach and so deep in my heart.

when this happens.

but it's today, today in the small moments, where i think i feel it most.

this final morning of high school when she asked me at breakfast to braid her hair.

i'm not sure how to put that feeling into words.

i've been braiding this girl's long, dark hair for almost 18 years. french braids and tiny braids. big braids and crowns of braids. swim meets and ballet recitals and volleyball matches and a million mornings in the rush before school.
there's absolutely no telling how many times i've stood over this oldest daughter with fingers braiding.

and, yes, i'm sure i'll braid her hair at least a few more times,
but never again before heading out the door before school.

because today was her last day.

all these years.
all these days of waking up early and climbing in a car and traveling away with backpacks and lunch boxes and projects and papers.

all those days finished.

i watched as she and her brother drove off down our driveway together. this -- their final trip to school as a duo. my camera snapping a photo from the front steps and they turn out to the road. their final morning together. these two oldest. 20 months apart in age and close as any brother and sister can be.

and this is where i feel it.

i'm sure i'll shed a tear or two graduation night. but, truly, it's in the small things like hair-braids and a brother and sister backing out of the driveway.

the big moments are great for marking milestones and major accomplishments, but we live in the small stepping stones of life. we live most deeply in the in-between.

in the little things.

and though we'll celebrate what it means to be fully finished with high school on graduation night, it is this morning, in my empty house, that i celebrate what it means to be her mom.

i will always love watching her in the big things ... but i'm so grateful i have been given the gift to have fingers weaving intricately in the very small.


Rebecca said...

So lovely. So much to be grateful for.

I'm right there with you, Jody, though I've never braided Will's hair....

Simply LKJ said...

Oh Jody, this was so sweet. I remember bawling my eyes out the night before Katie's last day of high school...I had just finished packing her lunch, the last one I would pack for her (I had been doing it since preschool). Her sister called shortly after and I told her what I was feeling, she replied "mom, I think I cried more about you no longer packing my lunch than you did!" It really is the little things. Congratulations to Emily!!