Senior Moments

Conventional definition of a “senior moment” includes forgetfulness brought about by age. I have a new definition.

Senior Moment: n. random incidents of crying brought about by the fact your child is graduating from high school (also applicable to college).

I’m always proud of her. We’ve had our moments of frustration, sure. But when I look at how far she has come, how she has changed and all that she’s accomplished, all I can think is, “Wow. That went fast.” And that knot shows up in my stomach, which moves to my throat. Sometimes the knot stays small, and sometimes it grows and escapes from my tear ducts.

Then the disjointed worries come. Can she handle college? Did I do okay? Is she scarred for life because of something I didn’t do? How much is Asperger’s going to get in the way of everything? How much should I get involved? She’s my daughter, but she’ll be a college student.

I’ve come to realize though that she no longer struggles to the point where I need to “fix” anything. Thank God, she trusts me and will tell me if she’s got a problem and asks what she should do. She doesn’t need or want me to fix it, just point her in the right direction.

Pass me a tissue.

She hugs me good bye and hello.

Pass another tissue, please.

She asks me to proofread her papers.

Yeah, I’m still shocked at that one.

Last month, she asked me to proofread the copy of her testimony for our church’s Youth Sunday worship service. The teens run the service, and some of the seniors speak and deliver a testimony in keeping with the theme. A Bible verse is connected with the testimony as well.

The theme is Diamonds, referring to a worship experience the youth had during a weekend mission trip to Chicago. My daughter and I talked about what diamonds go through to become diamonds: pressure, heat, stress. But we also talked about how the diamonds don’t come out of the ground faceted and sparkly.

It takes a craftsman to make that happen.

She took the idea and worked with it. And a few days later, she gave me the rough draft for thoughts and suggestions.

I read it and I cried.

There’s very little that I edited, because I wanted it to be genuine. She’s not a zircon, after all. She’s a diamond. And not all diamonds are perfect, but they’re still beautiful.

She wound up speaking at all three services. Speaking in front of 150 to 400 people at a time is a big step out of her comfort zone. Doing it three times? That’s dancing into new territory.

Her main topic was weathering her parents’ divorce. But she also talked about how people with Asperger’s don’t weather change well. These were the pressures forming a diamond…along with school, the usual stresses of high school socializing, and trying to find a new normal.

You can hear it in her own words. And as was read at the beginning, her support scripture was Jeremiah 29:11-12…”For I know the plans I have for you…”

Now she’s all registered for college. I am shocked at how fast 18 years went by. I still carry a mother’s fears in my heart…did I do okay? I have my senior moments…I mean, I cried when I picked up her graduation cake at the market. I apologized to the person working in the bakery. She just smiled and said, “I get it. Been there.”

I’m not sure why I started this post. Parents, hug your kids. They have trusted us for a long time and they still can. But we need to trust them too, and reassure them that if they stumble, we’ll help them through. There are plans in place that we cannot see. Plans for a hope and a future.