A couple of months ago, someone asked me how I was doing in light of my baby girl graduating high school in May. Smiling weakly, I told her I’m doing okay more often than not, but the “not doing okay” parts felt mighty heavy.
If you know me at all, you know this isn’t my first graduation rodeo as my twin sons graduated high school four years ago. But it is my first graduation with the baby of the family, and I find that reality brings with it more complicated feelings. In the words of my good friend Aimée, “Sending your first born off is like picking at a Band-Aid, and then sending your baby out into the world rips the Band-Aid off all together.”
Yep, that about sums it up.
Of course, I’ll miss Faith no more than her brothers. But when she leaves, her daddy and I will be ushered into a whole new stage of parenting known as Empty Nest-dom. All in all, I’m looking forward to this life change as it’s a very good one, yet my heart is tender toward the losses that come alongside the joys.
If that’s you too, mama, I offer you this:
A Prayer for the Graduate and for the Mom of the Graduate
Dear Father in Heaven,
No matter where my child is headed next — trade school, immediate employment, or college — I thank You that Your presence goes with her. Guide her thoughts, motivations, actions, and plans so they’re in line with Yours. Guide her heart to want to follow Yours.
Help her be a light that brightens the lives of those around her, so others may see You around them too.
When my child is stressed and discouraged, give her a hopeful vision of her future and a steadfast spirit in the present. Give her discerning wisdom beyond her still young years for every choice and decision.
Surround her with kind people who are for her, who love her and act in her best interest. Help her to be the same to others.
Give her favor among her professors, teachers, employers, and peers, and help her to be kind and strong.
Thank you that she can’t cross the street without Your presence crossing it with her.
And Lord, when the house feels much emptier than it did before, comfort me and show me Your goodness to come. Help me see my nest not as an empty (or emptier) nest but a changing nest. Help me see and name the good things You still have in mind for me in my new season.
Only You know every way I’ve showed up for her again and again through the years. While showing up for her may look different in this new season, help me keep showing up in the way she needs — no more, no less.
Lord, you know my regrets over the many times I’ve made mistakes in my parenting. When I wish for do-overs, remind me that Your grace fills my gaps and submerges my mistakes. I pray You bring to my mind and my child’s mind all the good memories made through the years, and may we keep them like treasured pebbles in our pockets.
May my child be acutely aware that while she no longer resides under our roof, she’ll always reside in my heart. (In other words, remind her to call her mama!)
Turn my sadness for this season into wonder for Your ways, for it holds wondrously good within it too. I shall see Your goodness in the land of the living. And thank you that no matter what change I experience, it comes with Your same promise of presence — for both me and my child.
In the unchanging name of Jesus,