-not sure if I heard it or made it up myself-so sue me (please don't) or google it yourself !
For anyone with children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, you have undoubtedly sat through the usual graduations speeches thanking the obligate family members who “got them through” school. I have sat through many too. Starting in preschool and now high school, they are monotonous; occasionally tear jerking and mostly annoying. They are first given by small children who have memorized their lines and read in a monotone staccato or high schoolers who are embarrassed and laugh all throughout the well-worn speech. It always ends with an "Ahhhh", clapping and some sort of self-satisfaction on everyone’s part. I am not done with this ritual. Only about 10 more times to go.
The children have no one to thank. It’s us, old farts who have them to thank for everything. I am glad I have touched the future. My children are the ones who have taught me so much:
Tolerance of teenagers' messy rooms, papers that are due at 8am but “can you just look it over” at 12 midnight, of late weekend nights and sleeping to the obligatory noon hour, questionable friends, toddlers who decide that the cat would look better with a Sharpie® doodle on it’s back, middle schoolers who have their first foray into dating with a school dance and giggle in the backseat about some boy who dropped his pants, dogs with green toenails, of crazy do-it-yourself haircuts of six year-olds that take two years to grow out, shattering an iPhone after it's been unknowingly dropped (in the damn carpool line) and “it’s your fault because you drove over it”, of candy wrappers hid between mattresses and box springs, rejecting what is made for dinner by commenting “do you have any back-up?”, dirty size 6 underwear found tucked in the back of a closet when you know they are at least a size 12 now and of course, them knowing something academic that you don’t or can't remember. That bites the big one.
Patience of teaching your child who needs extra help with her ABC’s, waiting in endless darwinian carpool lines, toilet training (say no more), of urgent text messages that don’t get through because “I left my phone in my locker, Mom, ” repairing a bed that has been used again for a trampoline, calming a dog down who had peas put into her ears, and them returning some real patience as they teach you the new iPad features.
Joy in watching your child walk for the first time, talk for the first time and drag their backpack for the first time.
Pure Inner Peace with the quiet rhythm of rocking a freshly bathed and fed newborn to sleep and watching her for the next twenty minutes thinking “It doesn’t get better than this.”
Real Fear of having your child get wheeled into an operating room, of falling off a horse of 17 hands height, getting their first stitches, their first time out with the car alone or with the car and THAT boy alone, rejection, or by being made fun of by children whose parents haven’t mastered the tolerance step yet.
My girls have taught me tolerance, patience, to find joy in life, to treasure inner peace and to only fear fear itself to which I am eternally grateful. This is far from a comprehensive list; I haven't been taking notes. I still have so many lessons from you ladies to go. I'll try to be a better student. No need to say grace this Thanksgiving. I say it everyday, sometimes without expletives.