The tagline on my blog is random thoughts on random stuff and that’s really what this blog has become for me.
Granted, the underlying theme of the blog and, the majority of what I post, are cycling related, but to be honest, I only post about 70% of what I write.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve found that writing is a good way for me to process and even organize some of the stuff that bounces around in my head. Several times, I’ve written about issues I’m concerned or conflicted about, but have only done so to help me figure things out and not to put out for mass consumption.
Today is one of those posts that wasn’t going to be for you, but for me...it’s one more example of random stuff bouncing around in the head of a lunatic that was put down to help me process things. I realized though, after writing it, that I should go ahead and post it since it really is about a celebration.
This past Saturday my youngest graduated from UC Santa Cruz. It was both a joyous and sad time for me. Obviously I’m thrilled that now both of our kids have finished college with a 4 year degree, but at the same time, it means that our kids are growing up and becoming their own people.
As we become parents, the focus of our lives changes. It becomes less about what we want and who we are and more about meeting the needs of our kids and helping them become the people we hope they will be.
In the earliest stages this is exemplified by midnight feedings, diaper changes and sitting and holding them when they cry.
Later, its homework, parent-teacher meetings, dance recitals and soccer practice. Never mind that you’ve worked all day or would rather watch the ballgame on television.
Eventually, its driving tests, SAT tests, college applications, listening to their boyfriend problems or maybe, if you're one of the lucky parents deep theological discussions that start just about the time you want to go to bed...
The common thread here is that they need us as parents to help them through situations and hopefully to teach them how to resolve issues on their own in the future. And we do it gladly all the while thinking that one of these days they’ll be able to handle these things on their own and we can spend some time focusing our own lives, our own challenges, our own hopes and dreams.
Never though, during the process do we realize that THIS is our life. THIS is why we’re here.
It's not until later when we're sitting in the bleachers watching them walk across a stage and receive their college diploma that it dawns on us.
Only then do we realize that a major chapter of our lives has ended and a new one is beginning, a chapter in which they’re more independent, more self sufficient and less reliant on us for every decision and situation.
And, with this realization, come the insecurities...
Did I spend enough time with them to let them know how important they are?
Did I show them that character is more important than appearance so they can see through the facades people put up?
Did I show them kindness so they might be kind to others?
Did I show them generousity so they would be willing to share with others?
Did I show them the difference between right and wrong so they would be willing to fight against unrighteousness in the world?
There's no doubt they’re still going to make some bad decisions no matter what we tell them. And, I guess for some kids, no matter what you've taught them, they would rather learn the hard way. Hopefully though, we’ve done our jobs correctly and we’ve raised good, kind, decent kids.
The amazing thing about all of this is that we're living proof that just about anyone that is willing to really make the effort can do it. When I look at the kids my wife and I raised, I’m constantly amazed that, even with me as her partner, (a significant handicap I’m sure you’ll agree) we’ve raised and delivered into the world, two smart, kind, well adjusted, people.
So, yes, while the youngest has now graduated and will go out into the world as an adult and we won’t be quite as involved in her day to day life, I’m celebrating the fact that she is an awesome “kid” and like her sister is still willing to hang out with a couple of old people and pretend they’re still listening when we talk...