She’s a senior. My daughter Shelby IS A SENIOR. As the end of the school year races to a close, I’m trying to stay in my feelings. My temptation is to stuff them down and barrel through this season, but I know this approach will only leave me with bigger, pent-up, frustrated feelings down the road. So better for me to be open to the emotions as they come: joy, sadness, pain, loss, frustration and happiness. I vacillate between them all. And probably a few I haven’t identified yet.
She’s a senior. But for us, not much will change after graduation. I was asked by the school to fill out this form for the awards ceremony:
These are just 3 of several questions that didn’t offer an answer remotely relating to my girl. No where to even mark “not applicable”. I closed the form in frustration. Uncompleted. Unsubmitted. We won’t be going to the awards ceremony. There is nothing there for us. After our summer break, Shelby will go right back to high school to the transition program. And while I am so very thankful for this option for her, it would be dishonest to say that I don’t grieve a “normal” future for her. She will never go off to college, live on her own, marry or have children. As we watch others prepare for these milestones, and as we anticipate our younger daughter doing the same in just a few years, grief comes anew. Instead of questionnaires for awards ceremonies, I’m filling out forms like this:
so that we can have a current and accurate IQ test for Shelby as we go to court to be appointed her legal guardians at age 18.
While all of this future talk can be a little sad and a little sobering, there are still lots of senior activities to look forward to. Like this:
Shelby got to go to prom. Complete with friends, a corsage and a limo! I am so very grateful to the Best Buddies organization and an especially sweet and loving group of kids who have a heart for the differently abled. I believe I scared a poor 17 year old when I hugged her and shed way to many tears on her formal attire to thank her for including my girl.
On Monday, Shelby gets to do an elementary walk. This tradition takes the seniors back to their first school in graduation gowns to walk the halls and see all their old teachers. She gets to participate in Baccalaureate – a religious service for the graduates (having already been presented in our own church on Senior Recognition Sunday). On the the last day of school, Chuck and I will get to join other parents and friends lining the halls of the high school to Clap Out the seniors as they exit the building for the last time. Then she will help round out the Best Buddies team for field day! And finally she will get to walk across the stage with the help of her teacher and favorite paraprofessional to receive her diploma with her classmates. So much she does get to do. So much fun!
So although I am allowing myself to feel whatever comes, today I feel grateful. Today I am choosing to celebrate the “lasts” with this sweet baby – even if there are no exciting “firsts” to follow. Today, I am hugging my daughter close and telling her how proud I am that she is made in the image of our incredible God. And today, I thank Him for allowing me to mother such an incredible gift. Today I praise God because Shelby is “fearfully and wonderfully made”. (Psalm 139:14)
CONGRATULATIONS TO SHELBY AND THE CLASS OF 2018