Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fly! Be Free!

It's been a long time since I posted anything, and even longer since I've been motivated to really write anything. This has been an eventful spring and summer; with the biggest event being my sweet daughter Emily's graduation from high school. Emily is our oldest child, so this was our first experience with a real graduation. We are home-schoolers, and belong to a home-school co-op, in which classes are taught two days a week by parents or others. They do an amazing graduation ceremony every year. Emily's class was very small, with only 23, but the ceremony took 3 hours, because the parents personally presented their child's diploma along with a short speech, and the students performed music and dance. There was quite a bit of preparation involved for parents, students, teachers, and administrators. It is a very emotional and stressful time, as well as joyful, because parents have to get used to the idea of their child getting ready for a more independent life, college, career, etc.. The ceremony was wonderful, and it really got my emotions on a roller coaster when right at the beginning they played a clip from 'The Andy Griffith Show' in which Andy talks to Opie about setting free some little birds he has been taking care of, keeping them safe in a cage. Of course Andy is talking about baby birds needing to fly and be free, but all our minds were on our own 'baby birds' and we knew exactly what Andy was really thinking about: his own little bird, Opie, needed to learn to fly and to make good decisions on his own. I was almost sobbing, and trying not to show it. There were many people also using kleenex, however. Once I get the 'waterworks' started, it's hard for me to stop; so this did not bode well, as I had uncharacteristically decided to go ahead and give a short speech when my husband and I presented Emily's diploma. This was a brave turn-around for me, as I had originally planned to indulge my shyness and leave the speaking to Eddie alone. But this year has been one of taking new steps for me anyway, or rather of spreading my wings. Earlier this year I sang my first solo in front of an audience, and next week I'm going to a master portrait painting workshop in Raleigh, NC to try and develop the gifts God has given me. The funny thing is, I wasn't really afraid any more. Having the courage to sing earlier this year had knocked my habitual paralyzing fear for a loop. It was gone. I was nervous, but actually looking forward to sharing what I had to say to and about Emily. We got in line by the stage to prepare to give diplomas, and our youngest daughter Abigail, who was sitting with my parents, started crying for me; I motioned for Mom to let her come to us. When it was our turn, I got up there with Eddie and Emily and Abigail, and Eddie spoke first. He did beautifully, but lo and behold, right at the end, he choked up, and then joked his way through the tears. It was my turn, and I grabbed the mike and started talking. I had a bit of trouble remembering to speak into the mike, but I got through my speech with a few tears; and was able to talk through them, instead of letting the tears silence me as I used to do. Here is the text of my speech to Emily.
Emily is our firstborn. And Abigail is our youngest. Emily was present when Abigail was born; and witnessed her birth. The umbilical cord was wrapped around Abigail's neck as she was coming out, and there was a crisis for a minute or two, but everything was alright. It's amazing, then, that after witnessing all that, Emily has decided to pursue an apprenticeship or program to learn midwifery. I'm very proud that she will be helping women and families to have a safe, dignified, and natural a birth process as possible. That is very important. Like the Israelite midwives in Egypt who were obedient to God, and so saved the children of Israel. I'm very happy for her; though it's very bittersweet seeing her grow up. She's a dear, sweet, gentle girl, who loves God, babies, praise dance, history, Snoopy, and of course... chocolate. Emily, as a child, you used to carry around a Tweety Bird toy. Then, you saw your baby sister Abigail be born, and you loved to carry her and take care of her, like a second mommy. Emily I'm proud of your conscientious heart, your responsibility, and maturity. You teach me so much without a word by your gentleness and patience. I love you dearly.God bless you in all your endeavors. As you seek Him, He will continue to reveal His will to you, step by step. This is one of the first memory verses you learned as a child. "His word will be a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path." I love you, Emily :)