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I have endured both physical pain and trauma without complaining. I seldom shed a tear with any type of pain, but tonight, even before my son began his journey down the aisle to accept his high school diploma, I needed more Kleenex than I brought. Tonight, my son finished a chapter in his life and begins another.

I watched as children I have known since birth accepted their diplomas and smiled in a way souls do when they are truly happy and proud of their achievement. I spoke with parents whose children have gone their own way, away from the close friendships they once shared with my own kids. So much of life is about change and as an adult I too have known the ebb and flow of friendships. What I was reminded of tonight were those moments I have shared with the families I have known and loved because we share the passion and joy of being parents. But as the interests of kids change, the circle of friendships among parents changes based on the relationship of our own kids. Even through those changes I will always cherish the friendships and moments we shared as parents and marvel at how each of our children have grown to adult souls.

I watched as my own son bore a smile of genuine joy and accomplishment. High school is a difficult time for any teen and my son was no exception.   Finding one’s way as a teen or adult is a difficult and lifetime task.  But tonight, I watched as he not only accepted his diploma, but who he has become. So as we close this chapter in our lives, I can only be thankful for all who have touched our lives. I look forward to the new chapters our lives will take and marvel at the wonder and privilege of sharing in the raising of a human soul, a child.

I love you Niko and am proud of you in a way that I may never be able to articulate to you. Congratulations on one of life’s most complex and wondrous events, growth.

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