A Mother’s Reflections at Graduation
Written by Erika Castiglione
When people ask me how I’m feeling about my oldest graduating and heading off to college, I normally say I’m feeling “all the emotions.” I’m sad when I think about how quiet our house will seem without her running commentary on everything, or how much I’ll miss running errands together while listening to Broadway music, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to hear the chorus to Carole King’s “Where You Lead,” without getting a little misty eyed.
I’m also feeling fear because I know this world is no safe place, anxiety over whether or not we’ve prepared her well, and the bittersweet reality that life here is temporal (seriously, where did time go?).
Thankfully, there is also excitement when I think about what is ahead of her, like all of the opportunities to grow, form deep friendships, and develop and use some of the gifts God has given her. I’m also interested to see the ways God will use this shift in our family dynamic to bring out different things in all of us.
As I look back at baby pictures and reflect on what now feels like a very short amount of time to help guide another image bearer from infanthood to adulthood, the sweetest emotion I feel is an immense gratitude for the grace of God. I’m thankful for his grace in allowing me to be a mom to my three children, and in the process catch even a glimpse of my heavenly father’s heart for me. I’m thankful for his grace that has covered a multitude of my sins and quieted my fears when so often I have felt the weight of my helplessness to protect those I love so deeply from pain and heartache. And I’m thankful for the grace that guides us now into this new stage we call “adult-lite” (not fully independent but getting there) and all the stages that will follow.
I know I’m not graduating from motherhood, but I also know my role in her life is changing. From carrying her inside of me, to dropping her off on her first day of kindergarten, till now, parenthood is in many ways an exercise of letting go. Yet, with each loosening of my grip on the three children he has entrusted to Danny and me, I cling tighter to my heavenly father. I’m so grateful he will never let go.
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”-Deuteronomy 31:8