For Eliza, On the Day of Her Final Finals

My sweet girl,

Today you take the final exam of your college career–your final finals as we have been calling them. While that in itself is reason to rejoice (!), I know there are a thousand other emotions moving inside you, like ocean swells that become waves that crash into each other in an approaching storm. It’s a funny thing to be the Mom of a daughter facing these confusing and conflicting feelings. I have been in the same place, on the same campus, facing the same things. I know your heart like I know my own: half sad and hopeless, half ready to move on. Fearful, yes, but nevertheless feeling that tug toward what’s next.

It’s just life, this tug of what’s next. It’s how God keeps us moving along our journey. That’s something you know but somehow it is of little comfort when emotions run so wild. Right?

Let me put your mind at ease on the two thoughts that I expect most weigh you down.

1. You are ready.

There is no experience like college (particularly at Clemson, which is ideal in this way) and for many of us, it will always be a pinnacle time in life. This is a good thing! It happens because it’s the perfect match up of want and need. College is an immersion in a life buffet–you only need fill your plate with the things that interest you and that move you along on your big life journey. Classes, clubs, relationships, parties, travel, lectures, sports, activities–a little of this, a little of that–and each one plays a part in getting you ready for the big world waiting for you out here. It’s all rather remarkable, I think.

But then years pass and you begin to get your fill. The food still looks good, but somehow you’re not so hungry anymore.

It’s God’s way of telling you it’s time to make a move. He knows because He’s provided everything you need to be ready for the next chapter. You are more mature, more grounded, more confident. You’re better at making your own decisions. You have a better sense of who you are. (Okay, so maybe not completely, but you definitely have a better sense of who you are not and that is just as important.) You know how to navigate, how to get from here to there, how to read the proverbial map and ask the right questions and work through problems that arise along the way. You know how to make the difficult calls, have the tough conversations, face the inevitable consequences. You’re finding out what drains you, and also, what brings you powerful energy and great, giddy joy.

You’ve had four years of practice on a demanding college campus. But the walls are closing in. You’re ready for a bigger stage.

2. You get to take the people that matter to you with you when you go.

It’s so true.

You’ve developed relationships with some remarkable people who’ve been an important part of your growth in college. These connections won’t just sever and die when you leave campus.  Those who matter to you will be an important part of your future, as well.

Chief among these, of course, are your friends. Guys and girls with whom you’ve spent time, who’ve influenced the person you’ve become. And most particularly the deep dear friendships of your tightest circle. How lucky you are to be surrounded by such strong, intelligent, beautiful women. How lucky they are to have you! As you hug goodbye to begin new chapters in different cities, rest assured in the knowledge these friendships will only deepen as you all move on. Life has a funny way of making sure this happens–it will challenge you in ways that demand you reach out and hold on to each other for support. I know from my own beautiful experiences–you will be there for each other in ways you can’t even imagine. They are your circle for life, these women, and you will lean on each other as things change over the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years and more. How you will need each other for strength, for guidance, for honesty. For keeping it all in check. And for laughter and fun. For the rest of your lives, when you girls are together the laughter will come as easily as it does today. With no work, with no effort, the laughter will always come.

There’s so much grace in that, I think.

Anyway, my sweet girl. There you are on that threshold. In front of you is a big, beautiful world filled with so much. I can’t wait to see you gobble it all up.

You are ready. It’s time.

Love, love, love,

Mama

 

girls
the girls

 

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17 thoughts on “For Eliza, On the Day of Her Final Finals

  1. Oh, kindred mom, I share your feelings…and wishes…and delights as we watch our girls take this next step. As Sally has been melancholic about leaving her “youth” behind, I’ve had to remind her that nothing ends here. She will remain close with her good friends, she will go to more football games and parties, and there is always more learning to do… Except now, it won’t cost quite as much!

    I love watching all our precious girls grow into such amazing women. I’m in awe.

    To be continued…

    All our love to Liza Lou and you!

  2. You always get it right when it comes to words!!!!! So blessed to have you and Eliza. We have so many memories that go back to Clemson and our ADPI days. Friends forever….Eliza has been a great big sister to Ayden and Josie. They love her and there is a special bond between the three of them. Clemson is a great experience and I am so glad Eliza had it and is moving to the next stage. We will all be there to cheer her on….love you both.

  3. You said it all, brilliant friend – I’m forwarding to Italia. It’s an exciting, hopeful, lump-in-the-throat time! I’ve thought of you so much. xo

    1. I feel like you and I have been holding hands since this journey began and that has given me strength. Thank you, dear friend!

  4. So hard to believe that sweet, bright eyed little girl that I loved so dearly is ready to graduate college. I remember having so much fun with her when I would take her home from daycare and stay with her until you got out of meetings, etc. She had such drive and determination then, I can only imagine how that has grown with her into adulthood. So proud of all of her accomplishments and so blessed to have been a part of her early years!!

    1. Oh Jana, thank you! You are sweet and thoughtful to read this and comment. How grateful I am to you for being my support system all those years ago. Hugs!

  5. Congratulations to both of you! With such a wonderful role model Eliza will go far. This post is right on target and I can’t wait to see what the world holds for such a special young lady!

    1. Thank you, “Miss Sylvia.” You are one of Eliza’s favorites and one of mine, as well. We both are happy to have had you in our lives since E was a little one!

  6. You nailed it, Cathy. And because of VT, I got to know 2 familiar ladies to you already: Julie and Suzanne. So many fun memories.

  7. Perfectly stated, treasured friend. I, too, can’t wait to watch precious Eliza feast on her future!

    1. I thought of you more than once in writing this post. Thank you for being by my side all these years, my soul traveler. I treasure you.

  8. Beautiful, heartfelt and so perfectly written. Congratulations on raising and releasing your baby bird. She will soar!

    1. Thank you, my wonderful writing partner. I know your girl will be experiencing the same things soon. How the time has flown!

  9. Thank you mama Cath, that was beautifully written. Brought tears to my eyes while finishing up studying for the last of the last! Thank you for bringing one of my best friends into my life….cannot wait for Weekend Camps!

    1. One of the very best things about the past four years has been getting to know you fabulous women. How lucky I am that I get to keep you, too! Thank you, Jillian!

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