“The love of a mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father.” –Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In early June my daughter graduated high school. When that day arrived, it did so as if it snuck up on me. In the moment of the day-to-day life of raising a child, time seems to stand still. But then, in the surreal moment that is graduation day, it appears as if that day approached in a flash.
In the blink of an eye, I went from walking her into her first day of kindergarten, to shouting out her name in a crowd of over 800 graduating seniors. In the distance I watched her hugging friends and smiling for photos. This is the very baby I brought home from the hospital, without the slightest understanding of what it would really take to raise her. Nor that compounding this challenge I would one day face raising her as a single parent. I had no idea of the many things I would have to learn along the way. And the things I have still ahead of me to learn as a parent who walks through stages of my own development, in parallel with my teen.
During breakfast, as we stood in the kitchen that graduation morning, I asked her if she’d like to say a prayer together. Facing each other she bowed her head, reached her sweet hands out toward mine as I grabbed a hold of hers. We began with gratitude to our Heavenly Father for bringing us to this glorious day. Her hands in mine, I could feel a different energy coming from her, different from the familiar recent strain of teen struggle. There was only peace, reconciliation, and humility in her grip. No matter the teen moments we’ve had, as I held her soft hands in mine, I knew I was holding a glimpse of God’s perfection: the love between mother and daughter.
It was a perfect morning.
During the Valedictorian’s address, he wisely observed that his high school experience taught him that no matter how much he planned, the actual journey presented itself as a winding road. He suggested to his fellow graduates that though planning is a necessary part of life, flexibility is even more essential. This 18 year old speculated, “Something tells me that life outside of high school will also bring many winding roads.”
I reflected on the winding road that a teen-parent relationship traverses, much like my daughter and I have travelled. However, what I was reassured by as I sat there listening, is that through the rough spots, the tearful moments, God always makes a way—A way to reach into our children’s hearts. We just have to be patient, and not give up. We must wait on our child’s time, not ours, for we’ve already walked through the coming-of-age process, and our children are only just beginning.
It was a perfect day.