Avery was 4 when he informed me of his plans to move out when he grew up. He said, “Mama, when I’m big I’m going to have a house that’s just mine, but you will have a room.”
“Oh? Ok. What will my room look like?” I asked, playing along.
“It will have rainbows and butterflies,” Avery responded.
“What will your room look like?” I asked.
“Duh, mama. Skulls,” he answered.
It was precious at the time but I couldn’t help but be surprised at his forethought. His older siblings had declared they wanted to live with mommy “forever”. Yet Avery already had a life plan independent of being cared for by me.
As he grew I imagine he hated every moment of being forced to try fruits and vegetables, take naps, brush his teeth, wear appropriate footwear, clean his room…but now he stands before me as a man who is fiercely independent, making his own way. I find myself searching for ways to care for him without undermining his independence. Now the ceremony of all ceremonies up until this point in a person’s life has been put on hold or cancelled – I get stuck, as a mom, in this place of self-pity and wishing things were different. I was looking at his cap and gown we ordered months ago with full certainty that this week would be the week we celebrated his achievement of high school graduation. I would have been shuttling family from airports and planning a party to honor my son. Instead we have been allotted a time for him to walk alone across a stage. Don’t get me wrong, I understand, but the gap still exists between expectation and reality.
As we, and especially our class of 2020, mourn the loss of normalcy, it’s ok to be disappointed. Today was supposed to be different than it turned out to be. Today our BSHS Class of 2020 should have been gathering together for one last time as seniors in high school before moving their tassels, tossing their hats and stepping off the stage as high school graduates, ready to move to the next chapter in life. But God has chosen this class to endure and overcome, as they will. He will fill in the gaps between expectation and reality, and if we let Him, He will pick up each of us and gently place us where we are meant to be.
Class of 2020, you don’t have to have it all figured out, because your Creator already does. As each of you moves forward in your journey, allow Him to lead you in every decision. And my precious Avery, I simply could not be more proud of the young man you are. My heart is full as I watch you fulfill your dreams of independence. It seems like yesterday when we had that conversation, your sweet chubby little face excited to tell me all about your future, yet here we are, on the doorstep of that very dream and I struggle to let you go. I will miss you, sweetheart. No matter how old you are, wherever I am is your home. You will never be alone, and you will always be loved. Congratulations, Avery and congratulations Class of 2020!