My blog friend Auburn Chick posted a run down of her graduating daughters school years, and I thought it was great... and I would like to do something similar as we prepare for graduation next weekend!
Carly has always been a little bit of a "mommy's girl", and I have so many wonderful memories of her growing up. She has never been very far from my side... and while is some respects that might not have always been a good thing, it has been a blessing as well. She is so much like me at times that it is just ... well, it is strange!
As the youngest daughter (she didn't become a big sister until she was nearly 12!) I wasn't sure that Carly would EVER talk. Her oldest sister was 12, and her other sister 7, when she was born. All Carly had to do was point to whatever she wanted and they were ready to oblige. I remember the day that I finally had to say, "Don't just hand her things, make her say the word, or she will NEVER learn to talk." She hasn't stopped talking since!
With a sister 12 years older, it wasn't long before she became a playtoy for Chandra's friends. At ballgames she often sat with these girls in the cheerblock, loving the attention that she received. And as Rachel become active in the marching band program, Carly could be found on the sidelines listening to the music, and tossing a flag into the air, dreaming of the day she could do what Rachel did. Now at 18, Carly has the ability to get along well with those individuals who are older than she is, which will serve her well. She has also developed a love for music... and all of those years on the sideline at band competitions were a big part of developing that love.
Carly has always had a love for babies... if there is a baby to be found, she will be somewhere near. That love of children led her to volunteer in our church nursery when she was in junior high... and she has been in children's ministry in some capacity ever since. Many of the children who are entering kindergarten this year started out with Carly in the nursery. She loves the children she works with, and they have grown to love and respect Ms. Carly. I find myself smiling with I see one come up to her during fellowship time so that they can share something with her. Or when they call out goodbye to her at the end of a service. We have been so blessed by watching her grow in this ministry.
When Carly decided that she no longer wanted to participate in band, we knew that she would miss that connection to music, so we bought her a bass guitar as she had once mentioned that she might like to play. She began taking lessons with our music minister, and with her background in music it was only a few short weeks until she was playing with the band on Sunday mornings. I am always amazed at how quickly she learns a new instrument, her talent is truly a gift from God and we are pleased that she has chosen to honor Him with it. She also picked up choir in school, and this year sang two solos and a duet at their spring concert. She did such and awesome job and we are so proud.
As Carly prepares to walk on graduation day next week, there are just so many blessings that we are praying for her... she is about to begin the next chapter in her journey, and with page after page of life stories still to be written, we are asking that God continue to keep her in the palm of his hand. We pray that she will find the path that has been chosen for her, and that she will learn more about herself as she travels it. And not just about herself, but about who she is IN CHRIST... as that will be the most important lesson. We pray for her to find joy, peace and eventually love... and we pray for her to be happy.
As I have looked back over her life with us over the past 18 years, I have smiled often, and I have shed a tear or two as well. I am humbled that God would allow me to walk alongside such a wonderful young lady (just as he allowed me to walk alongside her sisters, and now her brother!) and I pray that as parents, we have been able to instill in her those things she will need to draw on as her life begins to turn towards walking more independently.
I love you Carly... Happy Graduation!!!