Nationaltoday.com says today is Repeat Day. I feel that. We attended a graduation ceremony last week for our daughter Shelby. She graduated from high school at 17. But now at 21 she is graduating from the same school’s transition program. We are so grateful for the extra years our state allows special education students to stay before moving on to the adult world.
I have lots of feelings, as I did when writing about her first graduation here, here, here and here. And I have shed buckets of tears over those feelings. It’s complicated. Usually when a graduation happens, bigger and better things await. But I would keep Shelby right where she is forever if I could. I am thankful for the adult dayhab that she will attend from now on. It will give her some socialization and a break from the boredom that is hanging out at home. But it’s not the same. And that, along with tougher medical care – and someday a small group home – are what is available to her for the rest of her life.
But let’s break from the doom and gloom to talk about the sweet, special moments from her graduation. She was so excited to be celebrated. There were balloons, cupcakes and other decorations. Her teacher spoke of Shelby’s sweet disposition, her stubborn streak and how she’s grown. She called her a ray of sunshine. And she is.
One of her former aides asked off work to come see her. And the aide who works with her now stuck to her side. Teachers and paraprofessionals from her elementary, middle school and both high schools have cared for her and loved her so well. And I might as well include nurses, bus drivers, diagnosticians and transition specialists too! My husband’s observation was that she is known – really known by this community. And that’s hard to leave behind. She’s so fortunate to have had this experience with school.
Shelby’s Best Buddy Delaney came to the ceremony. And invited us all to her graduation party. She has taken Shelby to Homecoming and a friendship ball. A halloween party and an Easter egg hunt. Ice cream and soda dates filled the in between. Shelby loves to be with same age peers. And I don’t know how many other high school seniors would spend their time like this.
Lastly, we met Shelby’s boyfriend at graduation. We didn’t know that she had one. I don’t think she knows either. But this young man thinks my daughter is beautiful. He told us that she hugs him and they walk holding hands. I was so grateful for his tender affection for her and for the comic relief. I really needed it.
So the day was both sweet and hard. My point in telling you all this is to make sure you know that we can hold both things. We can be joyful and still grieve. I can laugh in the midst of pain. We can be grateful for the experience and still think it sucks that it’s over.
Our emotions don’t have to fit in one nice, neat box. God made all these emotions and none of them are bad. He handles messier things than this.
And now if you don’t mind, I’m going to follow the instructions in Matthew 6:6 from the Message.
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
And now for this week’s featured post from the link up!
Linda from beingwoven.org used scripture beautifully to express the frustration and inner turmoil we often feel about the hard things in the world. I so appreciate her vulnerability and her prayer of obedience in I Have Very Few Words…Today.
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