Cathy’s Graduation

Today is a significant milestone for my family. My second child, Catherine, graduates from high school.

I cannot say enough how much I enjoy being her dad. She is such a creative, energetic, joyful, intelligent, gorgeous young woman. A little over 18 years ago, Debbie and I brought her home as a tiny little baby. Watching her grow from an infant into a young adult has been a wondrous experience filled with laughter, tears, prayers, delight and regrets. I love the person she has become and look forward to watching God use her in his world. She easily fills any room with her abundant exuberance. I cannot imagine a day without her smile and presence in our lives.

But Catherine’s graduation, as with Michael’s graduation two years ago, forces me to reflect on the ongoing changes occurring in my family. In five short years, all four of my children will have graduated high school.

I remember when my children were very young. Their adulthood seemed so far in the future that I rarely thought about it. And now in what seems like a flash, that future is here. My cherished babies are gone, replaced by equally cherished emerging adults.

I’m amazed at how fast this part of our family’s life has gone. Yet, more startling than the quickness of time’s passage is the permanence. It’s gone. My babies turned into toddlers, went to school, grew up and are sprinting toward their adult lives. Each day brings Debbie and me closer to when we have to say “Good-bye” to each one as their hearts transition from our family and home to begin their own.

Over the past few years, if I could have been granted one wish, I would have asked for time to stop so that my family could be suspended as is. I would have given virtually anything to spend the rest of my life with my family. But then after having such a thought, I would immediately realize how selfish such a wish is. My children need to grow and become who God created them to be, even if that means I had to let them go. In fact, it requires that I do let them go. And I absolutely hate it.

In several hours, my daughter will step over this threshold into adulthood. And I will sit in the stands and cheer for her. Afterwards, I will hug and kiss her and celebrate her entrance into this new phase of life with unspeakable pride and joy.

But right now, in the shadow of this looming moment, I miss my little girl. In my heart and memories, I hold my little baby in my arms. I feel her tiny hand wrap around my finger. I feel her curl on my lap to watch TV with me. I watch her play with her dolls and dress up as a princess. I see her twirl and dance and sing. I hear her say, “I love you, Daddy.”

I love you too, Sweetie. I love you too. I don’t want to let you go. But I will.

Aaahhh… Summer!

Debbie’s already posted a couple of times about how summer is progressing for our family. (You can read them HERE and HERE.) I am so glad that she gets a few weeks off this summer. She’s worked so hard non-stop for the last few years. I know she has missed spending leisurely time with our kids. And I know they have missed it with her as well.

I am also enjoying the slower pace. I feel that as I age, my body quickly acclimates to a more relaxing schedule than when I was younger. Yesterday was a good example. I got home from work about 4:30 pm. Debbie and the kids were swimming at their cousins’ home, so I exercised and went for a nice walk. Later, I took Debbie out for Garden Burgers at one of the family-owned restaurants in Glendora. We’ve gotten to know the owner’s wife, who is Greek Orthodox. So while waiting for our burgers, we had a nice conversation with her about fasting (we’re currently in the Apostle’s Fast) and how to help our kids learn the spiritual importance about fasting. During dinner, Debbie and I had a nice relaxing conversation. After we arrived home from dinner, I went out to water the grass in front of our apartment complex. For some reason, the sprinklers haven’t been turning on, so the grass and bushes are like crispy bacon without the cool bacon aroma. So I spent a nice time in the cool evening, watering the lawn and listening to John Grisham’s Playing for Pizza. Then later, Debbie, Michael and I watched a good cowboy movie called Crossfire Trail, which is based off of a Louis L’amour novel.

No stress. No rush. No scurrying to finish homework or scrambling to get to a meeting.

And as I thought about the slower rhythm of summer, it reminded me that we’re also experiencing a slower rhythm at Church. The Paschal season ended on Pentecost a couple of weeks ago. And as wonderful as Lent, Holy Week and Pascha were, I am enjoying the slower rhythm of the Church. It’s as if the Church is making room for all of us to take the victory and beauty of Pascha and to live it out in the world personally — in our normal rhythms of prayer, fasting, family, friends, work, and play. For me, this is what being a Christ-follower is all about — learning to grow into and embody Jesus’ fullness in real life, to become by grace what Christ is by nature. That’s salvation. That’s mission. That’s life. It really is that simple because Jesus is my salvation, my mission and my life. And being in a Church where this is just normal life for everyone is absolutely awesome!

So, I feel like I’m walking through life more thoughtful and contemplative right now. And while there are things I’d like to write about, even feel compelled to write about at times, to do so without restraint would risk engaging in a flurry that is alien to what is best for this moment and season.

 Subscribe through Feedburner

Full & Satisfying Weeks

The kids’ last day of school was this past Thursday. So, the last couple of weeks have been very full. On top of our “normal” weekly routine, we had a band performance, a choir performance, a birthday party, finals, end-of-year trips and parties, and an eighth grade promotion.

Yup. Cathy is moving up to high school. She’s done such a great job in Jr. High and, as you can tell from the pictures, we are all very proud of her.

 Subscribe through Feedburner