when the tassel flips

Always a mother.

In early June I watched my oldest daughter graduate from college. As I stared down in the auditorium, I felt my heart race when I couldn’t find her among the 1200 graduates. If you’ve ever attended a graduation you know that feeling. Or when your kids are in a crowd. No matter how much you know them there is that moment of where are they?

I didn’t give up. I searched and searched and searched. I tried to figure out her nuances. Finally, there was one person whose head tilted a certain way, and I recognized it from the stands so so high. It was her. The daughter I gave birth to and loved and fought with and fought for and let go to fulfill her own dreams.

That’s motherhood.

It’s knowing what makes them tick and what makes them thrilled. It’s in showing up sitting in bleachers waving them on and waiting up at night watching for them to return. It’s in loving them, being a phone call away. It’s in being willing to let them go too, dear moms.

It starts so simple. Them needing you for everything. You can’t seem to catch a break. The summers you have together seem to speak in front of you like an endless calendar of days. So many, so much time, so long.

And then they grow.

Slowly at times, like the speed of light other times.

They hold your hand, they learn to walk, they run and then one day, they let go.

And yet, in it all you are always a mother.

You are the one that knows them so deeply. So much that you will seek them out in a crowd and in the moment of finding them your eyes, just like mine, will well up with tears. You are the one that they have their memories of: of your quirks and silliness and moments of just being there. That oldest daughter of mine? One of her favorite memories is of us playing cards. Not the big things, not the crazy things, not even the hard things.

But us, together, playing cards.

Sweet mother, no matter where you are in this timeline of motherhood I want you to breathe deep knowing that the things that will matter the most are not the giant things, but the little things. The playing card things.

Love them. Show up for them. Don’t let the fails and challenges define. Because in the end, what really makes a difference, is one thing: love.

Yes, love.

None of the Pinterest projects matter, nor how perfect the birthday party was or if you messed up. What really matters is your heart, your love.

Love them well. Breathe deeply.

There will be the last summer.

But even though it is the last, it is also the first summer of a new chapter of motherhood.

Time will go by. Don’t worry about that. Don’t fret. Don’t try to grab all the moments. Don’t lament the ones you wish you could change. Instead, live today, doing your best and loving well.

Because one day, the tassel will flip, and you will, probably, just like me realize what truly matters most.


ps. and if they graduate from college, here’s my new insight, add something to the top of the graduation cap so you can find them in a crowd.

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