Life’s milestones are worth celebrating and there has been plenty of that to go around the last few weeks. Babies being born, weddings to attend, graduations from kindergarten to high school to law school–each of these life events are filled with emotions–everything from excitement to fear, relief to panic, joy to a bit of sorrow. These emotions are experienced not only by those directly impacted by these milestone moments, they also tend to tug at those who are on the outside looking in. It causes us to reflect on our past and contemplate our future. It stirs us to wonder about our own journey and where it is taking us.
On Saturday I had the privilege of giving a diploma to a high school student. As I sat among all of the graduates, I was in awe. Some students I’ve known since they were in preschool and I’m so proud of the young men and women they’ve become. Others I watched as they struggled to get to graduation day–life’s circumstances weren’t always in their favor, and walking across that stage to receive their diploma had to hold a little “extra” sweetness for them knowing that they defied the odds. Stepping off the stage for each graduate signified the end of one leg in their journey and the beginning of a new path they are about to blaze.
As I gazed into the audience, I saw the tears of a mom for whom this moment was bittersweet–her youngest of three receiving his diploma that day. In the fall, he would be off to another state for college–I personally know both the joy and pain she was experiencing that day. I watched a dad snap dozens of photos as his son was wheeled out across stage, imagining that this milestone was one his parents may have thought at one time would never be experienced. As parents, the journey also changes and the significance of the porch light becomes even greater as children begin to pave their own way.
Then the hats are tossed in the air, the parties are attended, and everyone wakes up wondering, “What’s next?”
It’s unfortunate that we tend to only celebrate the milestone day. Sure–those significant days are filled with food, gifts, and way too much cake–and our diets and pocketbooks would suffer if we indulged like that on a daily basis. But the reality is, every day is a milestone; every day is worth celebrating. On both the good days and the challenging ones; lessons are learned, victories are achieved, obstacles are conquered. Don’t let a day go by letting fear or animosity win the day. Make a choice to celebrate, because every day is a gift and great things are always just around the corner.