When I was 12 years old, I wanted to be a cheerleader. I can’t remember the details of how I found out about the try outs, but I signed up, went to the camp where I learned the cheers, practiced, and then tried out. I made the squad for 7th grade… as an alternate. Raub Junior High Indians. I didn’t get to wear the regular uniform. I wore this really cute mascot costume, with moccasins and feather. My pride made me feel less than, not good enough. Then my pride made me complain about the experience for all of 7th grade. I didn’t want to participate in any of the cheerleader extracurricular events that solidify a team. At the age of 12/13, I was not a team player. From my perspective, I saw those girls as being silly and snobby toward others. I saw them look down on others who weren’t cool enough to be cheerleaders. I didn’t like what I saw because I saw others as being equally special and important. My junior high cheerleading career may have ended after only 1 season, but my lifetime cheerleading career developed and is strong.
Son#2 married the girl of his dreams this past weekend. The day was absolutely beautiful. The weather was overcast. Processing my emotions is always a challenge. Milestones leave me feeling joy and grief at the same time. Milestones are signposts marking the end of one era, the beginning of the next. If I’m not careful, I get stuck at the sign for too long, looking back on all that has been, feeling like I’ve lost instead of gained, longing to go back and do it again.
But my sons are men now. And as a friend pointed out to me recently, I have successfully led them through childhood to adulthood, which is exactly what a parent hopes to accomplish. As their personal cheerleader, and biggest fan, I did it!
When I feel sad, I have to keep reminding myself that the milestone isn’t just an ending, it’s also a beginning. My cheerleader skills are still needed. This life isn’t over yet. It’s just beginning.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV