Monday, October 3, 2011


"And then what?" someone once taught me to ask, when facing life's pivotal points. 4 months ago Dania graduated high school. I held it together during the ceremony, much to my surprise. Until their entire class stood up and did a flash-mob dance for the whole audience. What a fun way to give back to the people who had been supporting them for the last 18 or so years. While I watched them move in unison, I looked for familiar faces. Kids who had been in our home countless times, kids I had photographed at races or concerts or awards ceremonies. I saw them all. Smiling, celebrating, moving on. I found Dania again. It hit me. This was the end of the life I had worked so hard to keep together, and I would somehow have to find it in my heart to let her go and support her in her efforts to stretch her wings and fly solo. And then what?

Now she attends BYU and I stalk her on facebook daily. We Skype. We text. We call. I see her growing into the independent person she thought she was since kindergarten, bless her heart, and sure enough she is incredible. She's taking hard classes and acing tests and making friends and setting her bar high. She's preparing for the future and making herself known. And then what? Where will this path lead her? Where will this path lead our family?

There is a void in our home, that is only partially filled during our Sunday afternoon Skype sessions. We miss her deeply. Even with another teenager and toddler in the home, it is significantly quieter around here. But in that calm, it seems right, gosh darn it, and I can't deny it. It's right to be proud of her decisions and it's right to celebrate with her the fantastic consequences of good hard effort and it's right to go to her room and sniff her pillows every now-and-again just to feel her close. It's right that she's gone and it's right that she will come back. It makes me think of the eternal plan for us and how Heavenly Father must feel while we're away. I'm sure with my family here on Earth, Heaven is significantly less chaotic and more orderly. I doubt my heavenly parents sniff my celestial pillow but I know they watch me closely, and as I send an occasional something to Dania while she's away, I know they send things into my life to make it more interesting and bearable.

So here's to looking back and taking comfort. Here's to enjoying the moment. And here's to looking ahead and wondering where our path will take us next. A very belated hats (with four corners) off to you, Dania, for choosing your path well. You're an inspiration to watch. We are proud to be your parents and family. We miss you. We look forward to November 23rd for a quick Thanksgiving visit, and even more to Christmas break. Keep looking ahead, setting your bar, and taking those steps.

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