I’ve been thinking about all you weepy mamas out there who just graduated your babies from high school.
My kids are now grown, but I remember all the emotions that accompanied those time-honored traditions of graduation, and I know you mamas have shed a lot of tears these past couple of weeks.
High school graduation is one of those rare times that force us to re-examine our own life and face the fact that it’s changing. When our babies leave home, it’s a big deal.
I remember when my kids were little and my sons - just 20 months apart - were both in diapers. I was a stay-at-home mom back then and can recall those days like yesterday.
Etched into my memory is the overwhelming joy I felt as a young mother - the happiness I felt when I rocked them to sleep, listened to their laughter and breathed in that dirty dog smell they used to have after a day of playing outside.
We spent a lot of time reading Dr. Seuss, and I can still recite every word of "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish."
I taught them their ABCs, how to tie their shoes, ride a bike and tell time.
What I also remember about those days is that they were sometimes exhausting.
I spent a lot of time wiping butts and noses, filling juice cups and eyeing the clock for that coveted hour when both boys would lie down to take a nap.
When D.J. was five and Aaron was three, their sister Brooke was born, and from there things only got more hectic.
With three kids hanging from my hips, I was often frazzled and tired, and during those moments, I was reminded by parents who had already raised their families to slow down and savor the moment.
"It will go by so fast," they would say.
But during those years of sleepless nights and runny noses, I didn't believe the kids would ever learn how to dress themselves, much less graduate from high school and leave home.
But then it happened - and just like you - nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of emotions.
Time marched on as it has a tendency to do and today both of my boys have graduated from college and are chasing their dreams. My daughter just finished her second year at Texas Tech and is fully enjoying the college experience.
Mamas, believe me when I say the next phase will whiz by equally fast.
What I can also tell you is that watching your children spread their wings and figure out the rest of their lives is one of the greatest joys you will ever experience. You still have much to look forward to.
For now though, savor these moments. Laugh, cry, mourn a little and celebrate big. These milestones don’t come often.
Oh, and keep those tissues handy.
And to the Class of 2018, congratulations!
Get out there and make a difference in this beautiful world.
Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune and Glen Rose Reporter. She can be reached at 254-965-3124. Follow her on Twitter @ETEditor.