I remember everything as if it happened yesterday. I was holding back tears as much as I could and once I turned my back, the tears started streaming. That’s where we left her, lined up with all her new classmates with a smile beaming from ear-to-ear, ready for her first day of kindergarten. As I was wiping my tears, another mom caught me and said, “Don’t blink. Before you know it she will be in high school.”

As I blinked, it happened. The next time our daughter walks through the high school doors she will be writing her last chapter of high school. I have prayed every night that we have prepared her for the decisions she will be making throughout her senior year and beyond.

While this mom’s heart is struggling between being sad and being excited at what the next year will bring, I was still curious to my daughter’s thoughts. The other night I asked her and her boyfriend if they were ready to be seniors. Without a beat, both of them said, “No, not really.” My daughter continued, “We just finished school and I don’t think I am really ready to be a senior.”

Yet, in the past few months I have observed situations where I know she is more than ready, even though she may not think she is.

Giving Back to Others

Her interactions with the younger students does not go without mentioning. When a little girl comes up to her, our daughter stops what she is doing and listens attentively. Whether they ask for a picture, a hug, or a high five, she is always willing to stop and share a smile. Time is just so valuable and many people are not willing to give theirs away, but our daughter shares her time generously.

Staring Adversity in the Face

I remember the first time she faced adversity with a broken finger during a softball season, she learned a completely new position. Now she’s in the midst of facing adversity again as she recovers from a knee surgery. She is determined, has persevered, and has displayed that a positive attitude will move mountains. She has also worked through those moments of being defeated with grace and understanding. She is demonstrating true grit and realizes this is all part of her journey.

Tackling Tough Conversations

She started to have real questions about savings/checking accounts. She is curious about budgeting and how she will handle her finances in college.

Balancing Act

For the first two years of high school, I asked multiple times if she should quit something to find balance. However, I have seen her successfully implement a community service project, perform at her highest level in athletics, maintain a 4.0, stay active in her faith, and present to various organizations. She has balanced all of it and has done it far better than I could have imagined.

Staying True to Values & Beliefs

She is not losing sight of her goals and staying true to her dreams. She does not give into peer pressure. She shares her gifts. She shows the world her authentic self. She laughs loud and she laughs often. She is studying information and making decisions that are in the best interest of helping her reach her goals. All of these characteristics will help her continue to lead and lead well.

When you’re told, “Don’t blink, your children grow up too fast,” listen because it is unbelievably true. Now that our daughter is embarking on this next chapter of high school, my husband and I have to trust everything we have taught has prepared her to start making the upcoming life decisions.

I do not want her to grow up because I want her to stay little forever, as most moms do. However, I am grateful for the memories etched in my mind and heart—memories I am now able to share with her, to encourage her, and to make sure she knows she is ready for the title of high school senior.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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