Friday, June 10, 2011

Graduation Ceremonies and Good-byes

                My oldest has finally graduated from high school.  The weeks prior to the big day I was busy baking cookies, planning a menu, planting flowers, cleaning the garage, and putting the final touches to everything I could.  The week before, I started waking up between three and four in the morning because my baby was soon to leave the nest.  With the lack of sleep and non-stop work, I feared my health would decline.  Rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are not conducive to such factors.  Every morning when I awoke before the rest of the world, I had talks with God.  “Please help me get all my work done and enjoy all the festivities.  Once they are over, I can have a flare-up.”  Each night as I fell asleep, I thanked God for getting me through another day. 
The morning before the party I woke up at 3:10 to the sound of hail.  I paced the house worried about my day old flowers that I had just picked up from the local nursery and planted, all that hard work and no time to fix it.  As the sun came up, I walked around all of my flowerbeds and pots.  They had been pummeled, but they weren’t dead.  Thank you God!
The party went wonderfully with many family and friends attending to wish Michel congratulations and good luck.  I could feel the exhaustion just below the surface, but the joy of the moment kept me going.  I will have to say, I was thankful as the last stragglers left.  I was also thankful to my mother-in-law for insisting all dishes get washed.  I am positive I wouldn’t have gotten that done without her and dear friend Sandy.
With tons of rain before the graduation, I was very thankful for sunny skies Saturday morning.  I was exhausted, but still moving.  Yah, God!!!  I watched with pride as Michel and all his friends (my other kids) filled across the stage to receive their diplomas.  A ton of pictures were taken afterwards and we made our way home.  Once inside the doors, the exhaustion hit.  I sat down on my chair and didn’t move.  Family came and went, but I stayed and was very thankful.  I rested the entire afternoon and went to bed early for I still had one more function to make it through.
Sunday dawned beautiful.  Michel came in after the all night party at around five.  He was a trooper and woke up in time for Mass.  I needed one last Mass before he left for BASIC training.  We took separate vehicles.  Michel, little sister, and I went to pick Nana up at the hotel.  The other two took the chairs back to the church that we borrowed for the party and we met them there.  Off and on throughout the Mass I would start to get a little teary eyed, but it would retreat. 
During prayer time, I started a prayer for Michel.  “Dear Lord, please place a bubble around Michel during his time at BASIC.  Shield him from the negativity that I went through during my time at BASIC.  Give him good memories….”  I realized I wasn’t doing my amazing son justice with this prayer.  “Never mind shielding him Lord.  Instead stand beside him to give him strength during the tough times he will face.  Help him have patience being surrounded by others with no downtime.  He is strong, but he will need You by his side.”  Keeping him from tough times will not give him the skills he will need for his future.  Besides, he is a strong man that already has the awesome signs of a very good soldier.
After Communion, my husband leaned over and asked who was going to announce Michel leaving.  At the end of church there is a time for announcements and celebrations to be shared.  I told him he needed to.  I don’t think I could have done that.  The announcement took Michel by surprise.  I think he thought he could get out of church with no one knowing.  People thanked and congratulated him for serving in our military.
As I started to leave the sanctuary, I turned to see Jerry with his hands placed on Michel’s head.  Tears streamed down Michel’s face as sobs raked his body.  Clay instantly grabbed me for a hug as he started to silently cry.  Jerry finished praying over our boy with tears in his own eyes.  Madelle and Nana also started crying.  Hugs were given by all of us with Jesus there amongst us. 
Blessings to you all.

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