My husband and I joined our sweet 14-year-old for dinner at her 8th grade graduation dinner/dance last night.  I’ve always been amazed with the person that she is, from the joyful and bright child to the poised and compassionate young lady that she has become, but last night she gripped my heart in pride.

Getting ready:  There was only 2.5 hours from the end of school to the beginning of the event.  2.5 short hours for teenage girls to have their hair and make-up done, get dressed, and get to the dance.  I got to school early so that we could get moving the second the bell rang.  I found the other mothers lined up waiting to do the same with their girls.  Why, oh why didn’t they just give the 8th graders a half day?!?!?!  Taylor was exhausted from being up until 3 a.m. the night prior working on a school project, so I knew that she needed a nap.  A no argument, non-negotiable 30 minutes of sleep.  That left us about 1.5 hours to get her ready.  Let’s do this.  I got to work straightening her hair and her biological mother joined us after work to do her make-up.  Got her all dolled up just in time to get out the door.  A double dose of mom power!

Taylor’s speech:  Each student had their turn to say what they wanted to their parents.  Most of this was done with the expected uncomfortable teenage nervousness, but since Taylor has had plenty of debate tournaments under her belt, she stood tall, smiled looking out at us, and said…

With all the struggles that we have been through, we have always stood together.  I appreciate everything that you have done for me.  I love you guys.

I was never prouder of this young lady.  But it made me realize that I really wasn’t ready for her to graduate just yet.  It made me think of all the loving kisses and gentle pats on my cheek.  It made me think of the snuggles and the giggling little girl.  And then, it made me think of the next four years and what is to come.  I’m still not ready for this, but she is.

The dance:  Parents were invited to have the 1st dance with their child.  I looked on with tears in my eyes as Eddie and Taylor box-stepped, laughed and twirled together, finishing with a dip.  Taylor grinned ear to ear amongst the gasps and squeals of her girlfriends over this performance – “Oh my gosh!  Look!  Taylor got dipped!!!”

So my friends, I may not be entirely ready for Taylor to graduate and head off to high school, but she sure is.  She is mature beyond her years so I’d better suck it up and catch up to her because Fall is just around the corner.