To the Class of 2011

I have done this before.  I have sent each of my children away to college.  Each time it has been bitter-sweet; sweet to see my child accomplishing his dreams and bitter knowing that my time of raising him has come to an end.  This, however, is my last time of watching a child leave the nest.  Right now it seems a little more bitter than sweet.  I know there will be times when I am grateful for the peace and quiet I will now be able to enjoy, but I know there will be times when I yearn for not only my son, Dallin, but also for his group of friends to walk through the front door.  You see, I have found that it is not only hard saying goodbye to my own son, but it is also hard saying goodbye to all of those young men and women who have associated with him throughout the years.

This particular group of friends have known each other for many years.  They have been together since being toddlers.  I will never forget the carpools to and from preschool.  Each time there was always something to brighten up my day.  There was the time that Trevor had to know in which order I was taking everybody home.  Finally, when Dallin was the only one left he asked, “And then are you taking Dallin home?”

“No,” I answered, “He has to go to work at Burger King.  He works the milkshake machine.”

Well then, of course, they all wanted to work at Burger King, so we decided that I would drop them all off.  Not knowing I was just teasing, when I pulled into the parking lot Trevor attempted to jump out of the car to begin his daily labor.  I had to reach over and grab him by the shirt to keep him from escaping.  The only one who was not impressed with the prospect of employment was Nicole.  Her response, “I hope you know we are all going to tell our mothers about this!”  For a moment, now mind you, just one moment, I was terrified.

I am not so certain that as eighth graders they enjoyed our group algebra tutoring sessions we shared, but I am sure they enjoyed it more than they would have doing the “Word” assignment each week on their own.  We gathered around the kitchen table with a white board and marker each Thursday afternoon.  I tried to make it fun as well as educational.  I hope that at least some of them remember the first step of a difficult word problem.  No!  It is not defining  the variables.  I tried to get that idea out of their heads.  The first step is always to SCREAM that way one gets it out of his system and is ready to proceed rationally.

Well, they all graduated from high school a month ago.  We all knew that it was only a matter of time before they each would go their separate ways.  I thought I was all right, but then the inevitable happened yesterday.  That is when the first of the group left for college.  Last night he posted on Facebook that he was now in Hawaii.  That is when I realized that everything really has changed.  No matter how good of friends they all have been, those relationships will never be the same.  They will have some contact over the next few years, but experience has shown that slowly that contact will become less and less.  Someday they will realize that these years were a very small part of their lives, at least in the number of years that were occupied, but, the impact of these relationships and years will be immeasurable.  They are years that will shape the rest of their lives.

This year marks thirty years since I graduated from high school.  I look back on my youth and especially those relationships with fondness.  How grateful I am for those friends who made that journey with me.  Although I have lost contact with most, I will always cherish them; I will always love them.  I still carry them with me everyday, for they are a very real part of who I am today.  Although it is difficult to say goodbye, I am sure that the class of 2011 will find the same thing.  They will look back with fondness at their youth.  They will carry in their heart the friendship that they shared during this time.  Their gratitude for those relationships will increase.  They will cherish new relationships even more because they will better understand the blessing of having true friends.

I will miss you Alec, Austin, Byrin, Caitlyn, Callie, Dallin, Emily, Kalob, Krista, Lindsey, Nicole, and Trevor.  I wish you the best as you go forward to accomplish your dreams.  I wish you joy, happiness, and prosperity, but most of all, I wish you sweet friendships.  I wish you to know that it is a far better feeling to love than to be loved.  I wish for you to come to know that the most important things in life cannot be seen nor touched, but are felt in the fleshy tables of the heart. I will miss each of you but expect to hear of your great accomplishments.  Work hard and luck will follow.

Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4                                                                     [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]