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They went to daycare together. They played in the dirt together at Pee Wee baseball games. They started kindergarten together, then on to middle school and, finally, high school.
And now they've graduated together.
As I watched the seniors on class night, at baccalaureate and again for graduation, I thought of how far this group of kids has traveled ... and how far yet there is to go. My oldest child is one of them.
The trite saying, "Children grow up so fast," doesn't seem that trite after all. That's because it really does feel like it's been only a handful of years since they were toddlers.
It seems as if it were only yesterday that I was holding Cameron's hand as we crossed the street, answering the multitude of a toddler's "why" questions. "Why is the moon round, Mommy?" "Why do I have to be quiet, Mommy?"
It was only a short time ago that he hit his first homerun and turned to grin at me before running the bases.
It doesn't seem that long since he traded his elementary school years for middle school. But now high school is already over?
These kids are all at the threshold of adulthood, most not completely self-sufficient, but yet chomping at the bit to be their own bosses.
A few times recently, I have found myself wishing I could freeze time, keeping away all of life's challenges they'll soon be dealing with. They want so badly to be "adults" and autonomous, yet still wonder why their favorite jeans haven't been laundered.
Let's face it, life is quite often difficult. Some will have it easier than others; some will struggle. I wish I could help make life easier for all of them.
Perhaps I'm too sentimental. Or maybe it's because this is the first time one of my "babies" will be leaving the nest.
Cameron and most of his friends will begin college this fall. Others will enter the workforce. They'll go on to have families of their own and make those difficult decisions that we've all had to make.
I pray that God will watch over each of these young adults as they make their way through life, guide them and bless them throughout the years.