Another chapter in a young life

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“It’s been magical, but I’m done.” — Kassandra Seabolt, class of 2017

When our daughter chose that as her “senior quote” for the high school yearbook, I worried that it would seem flippant or even rude. I can assure anyone reading it that it isn’t meant to be.

I just have never known anyone who gave something 100 percent while she was in it — and was so thoroughly ready to move on when she was done. When she was five we signed her up for softball.

She did as well as anyone does at five years old. She excelled at eating orange slices and picking dandelions in the outfield.

Questions asked

At the close of the team party, the coach was already rallying his troops for the coming year. Girlwonder was asked, “Did you like softball?”

“Did you like softball?”

“Yes!”

“Did you like your coach and all the girls?”

“Yes!”

“Did you have fun?”

“Yes!”

“Do you want to play again next year?”

“No!”

Each answer delivered in the same cheery tone. When she’s done. She is done.

This is why it was no great surprise that as much as she enjoyed and excelled at high school when she was done, she was done. It was time.

To cling to the past four years of high school as “the best in her life” seemed shortsighted.

Did she enjoy them? Yes!

Did she love her teachers and classmates? Yes!

Did she want to do another year (if such thing were even possible)? No!

Comparisons

As is my way as the “paparazzi mom,” I took a photo on her very last day of school and compared it to her very first day 13 years earlier. While the rest of the world sees a tall, confident, and accomplished young lady, I see a nervous five-year-old with a gap-toothed smile, two wispy pigtails, and a Care Bears lunch box.

Sometimes I think it is harder for us as PARENTS to observe these milestones than it is our for our children. I think high school graduation is doubly hard because it so often coincides with our “babies” turning 18 and becoming legal, if not emotional, adults.

One minute we are counting ten little fingers and ten little toes; the next we are watching them walk right out the door and into a world where we can make “suggestions” but no longer make their decisions.

So was it magical?

For me it was. As for Girlwonder, this is the magic I hope you remember. I hope you danced. And sang. And dreamed a dream. Yes, you were “Fantine” in the school play.

A role so vivid that young students STILL come up to you, breathless and equal parts bold with excitement but also shy to say “you’re Fantine! I saw you!”

You excelled at a sport you have loved and were given a chance to learn and shine. I hope you remember the early morning practices, and the hot days, and the cold days, and the camaraderie and fun.

I hope, too, you remember the times it was hard, and it rained, and you lost. I hope you remember that even during those times the end result was worth it. I hope you never forget that teamwork makes everything better.

Remember

I hope you remember where you came from. A place of county highways and long dirt lanes. Of cow pastures and graduating classes of less than 100 students. I hope you go all the places you plan to and that all your dreams come true.

I also hope you are never too worldly to recall that you come from a high school that proudly offers “tractor day.” I equally hope you always remember that you started your “career” working in a hometown hardware store.

I pray you will retain the roots you learned in a little white country church, a small brick high school, and a big old Victorian farmhouse. All these places, and the people in them built you after all.

As she enters the next chapter, I pray she will take what she learned from this school and community with her forever.

It’s been an amazing adventure since she stood at the end of our driveway with her name tag pinned to her shirt. She held her big brother’s hand before kindergarten. He was in first grade so he knew everything.

Today not much has changed, thank goodness. She asked her big brother to accompany her to college orientation.

He knows the ropes there, too. Finally, I hope Girlwonder and all the graduates walking across that high school stage and into adulthood remember that scary things like new classrooms, new friends and new adventures in adulthood, can all be conquered and cut down to size with a little bit of bravery and a whole lot of teamwork. Make magic.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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