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Graduation 2016: Rosy futures for kids, pause button wishes for parents

Posted June 8

The garden near downtown Raleigh is in bloom around Mother's Day.

Excuse me, for a moment, as I get all maudlin and quote a line from my tween obsession, "Anne of Green Gables." It stood out to me the other week as I read it to my own tween, who graduated from fifth grade this morning.

"All the Beyond was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years," wrote author L.M. Montgomery about the series' main character, "each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet."

Montgomery wasn't shy about using flowery language - case in point. And, I don't have any memory of that sentence even though I read that entire series about 20 times as a young girl.

But, when I read it out loud to my own daughter, I had to stop. I read it again. Then, I read it a second time, getting a little teary, and I looked at her. The future holds so many possibilities and opportunities for these kids. Every year, they are learning and growing and forming the foundation for whoever they will become.

The kids are ready to build on that foundation - to move up and on. I have no doubt. But, I wish I could rewind to moments from the last six years and take them in one more time before we shift to this next stage of school and life, childhood and parenthood. I need a pause button.

At the ceremony this morning, two accomplished young women, who will graduate from Broughton High School on Thursday, spoke to the kids. They'd met as kindergartners at my daughter's school and have remained friends through middle school and high school. As they spoke, I scrambled for my notebook, but, of course, I wasn't there as a reporter. I was a mom.

Their message was powerful: Don't be afraid to make new friends. Skip the drama. Find a passion. Focus on what makes you happy.

They eluded to the challenges that can come in the middle school and high school years. But, there they stood, well spoken and with promising futures, a powerful testament to the parents and the kids, that, with some hard work, focus and support, everything should be OK.

"What are you going to be like when she graduates from high school?" a colleague asked me the other day as we talked about the pending graduation.

"A mess," I said.

But the tears, like today, won't be for her. They are for me as I mourn a chapter of my own life passing me by.

For her and all of her friends and classmates, I can't wait to see what "all the beyond" has in store for them.

Congratulations to all of the 2016 graduates! And thank you to the teachers, teacher's assistants, administration and staff who have guided them for so many years. Your work is so important. You deserve so much more.

Sarah is Go Ask Mom's editor and a mom of two.

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