Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Tears

I shed a few tears on my bike ride this morning. It wasn’t because of the wind in my face, though there was some of that. It wasn’t the pain building up in my knees, though there was some of that. It wasn’t even the Cujo dog that tried to take me down, though there was some of that. (Note to leash owners: The leash device works best when one end is fastened to the dog’s collar. Waving the leash menacingly at the dog is not the preferred use of the device.) No, I shed a few tears because I was thinking about my daughter Kate.

Kate graduated from high school a few days ago. This morning, as I pedaled along, I remembered how cute she looked in her white cap and gown, her blue eyes shining, her curly brown hair cascading down from beneath the universally awkward graduation cap.

I remembered her poise as she crossed the stage, pausing briefly to shake hands with her principal and other school dignitaries. She didn’t even trip in her snazzy red heels, purchased especially for the occasion.

Then my mind went back to when Kate was about four years old. We were at one of our favorite parks (the one with the merry-go-round) and I was sitting on a blanket downhill from the playground. Suddenly she left the sandy swing and started down the hill to me. She spread her arms wide, broke into a huge smile, and aimed herself toward me. Her legs could hardly keep up with the momentum pulling her down the hill. But she stayed upright, and fell into my waiting arms.

“Lord,” I prayed, “help me never to forget this moment.”

Kate has brought us many hugs and smiles during her 17 years. And it made me tear up a bit thinking about it this morning.

She’s headed to college in the fall to study chemistry, 700 miles away, and I’ll miss her terribly. But I’m excited for her. She’s so ready for the next phase of life. She’s still running full steam ahead, arms wide open. But this time she’s headed into the arms of her future, bright, hopeful, smiling.