The word was exhilaration and it was a word I never thought could describe my feelings of the day. For 18 years I quietly dreaded this day. Even when I cradled him in the hospital-provided flannel blanket, the knowledge that this child would someday grow and spread its wings lurked around every smile with sorrow. I naturally grew attached and over the years, got better at pushing the reality of growing-up out of my mind. But, as the graduates sat waiting in the wings, minutes before the final countdown of their life as a high school student was ending, there were few traces of sorrow in my heart and more levels of joy. Yes, earlier that week, when I pulled out the brown paper lunch bags, a tear fell as I was only packing three instead of the usual four lunches. Just like it is with so many things in life, I dreaded this moment far too much. And when the moment actually came — it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I knew it was time. The past 18 years had done its job of preparing me for this day. The speaker said, “in a blink of an eye,” with hammered precision, letting the graduates in on that secret that all the parents there knew — you grow up in a blink of an eye. But those words couldn’t quite capture the essence. Some days are compressed and time flies far too fast, and that there are other days of drudgery when your feet feel as if they are stuck in slow-moving molasses. Life is a mixture of those two kinds of days. Those are the days that make up the 18 defining years. It’s a carefully crafted mixture that prepares your heart to let go. When they did open the door to let those graduated seniors out, I let go of what I had been afraid to embrace. I decided to focus on the strength and promise of this young man and how his world will continually profoundly impact mine in deeper ways beyond the Wednesday morning story times at the library. I feel nothing but exhilaration for the adventures that are about to come, and for the newfound time I’ll have by packing three, instead of four lunches.
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One woman who enters the “Open a New Door” contest will be awarded $10,000 to help her realize her reinvention goals in the areas of professional development, volunteerism or travel, in addition to a personal coaching session with Pamela Mitchell, founder and CEO of The Reinvention Institute. Women 50 and over can visit MoreOpenDoors.com to enter. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN IN THE OPEN A NEW DOOR CONTEST. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE THE CHANCE OF WINNING. Starts 8:00:00 am ET on 5/20/14, ends 11:59:59 pm ET on 6/30/14 (“Promotion Period”). Open to women who are legal residents of 50 United States and District of Columbia and 50+ years. Void where prohibited. Subject to the Official Rules, inclusive of the entry judging criteria, available by visiting MoreOpenDoors.com during the Promotion Period or by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope for receipt by 8/4/14 to: Open A New Door Contest RULES, P.O. Box 13106, Bridgeport, CT, 06673-3106. Sponsor: MSD Consumer Care, Inc.”