Character Diplomas

Today I'm feeling melancholy, because it's time to start saying farewell to another group of amazing mentors, our high school PALs. 
And though good-byes can be understandably difficult,
this one was really tough, because these are Joshua's classmates.
This is a class full of Joshua's peers.
They are about to graduate from high school.
And that whole empty nest thing is about to get real.
At least for people like us. 
At least for me.
So I made each PAL a character diploma, suitable for framing,
with some of my reflections and dreams for them.
I rolled the papers up, diploma-style, 
and tied a blue and white bow around each of them.
I delivered it to them in person,
but I knew I'd be too raw to read it aloud right now.
I handed each student their diploma, 
then we took a moment of silence
to read and remember.

I may have heard a few sniffles. {It's possible they were mine.}
I'm also feeling thankful that we've had this opportunity
to teach them to soar, this amazing batch of baby birds.
Beautiful song birds, 
just waiting to be heard;
strong song birds,
so ready to spread their wings and fly.
It's what we want even as we fight with our hearts to let go.

I hope that they'll fondly remember the nest
where they grew up and learned to fly.
I hope they've felt comfortable here 
and that they'll return to refuel, restore, and reflect 
with some regularity.
I hope that they'll be able to apply all of the life lessons
and secrets of survival we've tried to share.
I hope that they will dream big and
give themselves grace when things don't work out.
I hope that they'll love and be loved.
I hope that they always know that they matter,
that they are valued and valuable.
Our most precious resource.
The golden eggs from our nest.
Our future. 
Our hope.
Our heartbeat.

That's what I would have said out loud,
if my heart, like an eggshell, weren't so fragile right now.

I can't wait to see where their flights take them
and I can't wait to hear all about it when they come back home.

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I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!