What a magnificant day for our family. It has been everything that I could have hoped for. I've thought a lot about my sister and how I wished that she were still alive to share in our family's celebration and my joy. There will be more to come but right now, I'd like to share with you the toast that I wrote this morning and tried to do this afternoon. I made it to the end of the second sentence and had to have my hubby read the rest because I couldn't do it.
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Reflections on the roads you’ve traveled:
Look around to the people standing in this room here with us today – some are new to our circle and some have been with us since the beginning. The people standing in this room today are the ones who love you the most.
I remember when I found out I was pregnant with you and when you were born and how difficult it was for me. That day I was born a mother and I thank you for teaching me the things that you have.
I remember taking you to pick out Sasha and how you wanted to bring the other dog home with you and name it Savannah
I remember your laughter and smile when you would sing zippity do da, and do ButiTrol on your dolls and say that the man from Tales of the kript needed ButiTrol.
I remember your childhood innocence when you reached down at your Aunt Anita’s wedding to pull the stickers off the floor and then stick them on her beaded wedding dress…….and then a year and a half later when your childhood innocence worked its magic again and picked out your Aunt Anita’s casket and saved the rest of us in our time of grief. I know if she were here with us, that she would share in the emotions and pride that we all have for you.
I remember how you used to sit and watch Madeline when she was a baby.
I remember when you and Margaret would play wedding at the parsonage.
I remember your days in Girl Scouts and you learning to play the ukele.
I remember when you were entering middle school and telling you that you were not going to have the same friends in a year because some would not make good choices and would go in a different direction. I am pleased that you made the choices that you did.
I remember your first days of school…….all of them except 9th and 10th grade.
I remember a few days before my wedding when you decided to stay with your daddy.
I remember all the trips that I made to Effingham to see you and how much energy and love we put into rebuilding our relationship. I feel such a sense of contentment when I think of were we were and where we are now with our relationship.
I remember your confirmation and how I stood at the communion rail and cried.
I remember you coming to our house in the summer of 2002 and telling me that you wanted to stay and live with me and Bill.
I remember you riding Joseph’s car in the hotel hall in Nashville
I remember your proms and how beautiful you were and how glad I was to be included.
I remember Vacation Bible schools at the retreat center and your birthday parties in the belltower.
I remember the pleasure on your face when I shared with you that I was pregnant with Joseph and then pregnant with Kathryn and I also remember the look on your face when you learned that Kathryn was a girl.
I remember when I introduced you to Lance and Mr. Cox in the bandroom and then a few weeks later when you came home from “just trying out bandcamp” and saying that you were going to be in the band.
I remember going with you and Shaina to get your driver’s liscense and watching you parallel park.
I remember going to the dome. I remember football games and volunteering in the media center at Ebenezer. I remember how much fun I had watching you in school and seeing how much fun you were having in school. I remember your accelerated reader points. I remember teachers competing to have you assigned to their classroom.
I remember the heart to heart talk that we had on the way to Savannah
I remember you calling from Europe
I remember college applications and allowance and when your acceptance letter came.
I’ll remember your helpfulness, your gentle spirit, your smile, your tears.
I remember when you lost it with Madeline in the parking lot of the McDonalds in Metter and thinking to myself, Wow! She really does have some spunk in her.
And so here we all stand today – and looking ahead to your travels…..
I wish for you confidence, wisdom, serenity, the knowledge that no matter what happens – the people standing in this room will be the ones who will love you no matter what.
I pray that your life from this day forward will be directed in a way that will build upon your accomplishments and magnify your strengths. I encourage you to be honest with yourself about yourself. Remember the things that you have learned in church and from our family, remember that even though I would prefer it to not be permanent, you can always come home.
Most of all, remember that God’s grace is bigger than any burden that we’ll ever carry and if you trust Him, that He will direct your paths.
There will be challenges ahead of you but challenges are not new to you. You’ll take them as you always have – one bite at a time. This time – your bite will be as a Georgia Bulldog. You’re going to do fabulous at college and learn things about yourself and make discoveries that will shape the rest of your life.
Bill and I, Madeline, Joseph and Kathryn – we love you and are very proud of you. We will miss you but our pride and dreams for you far outweigh any sadness on this day.
You’ve made great choices, you are prepared for college and the future and today we all salute you, we honor you and your accomplishments. I'm confident in your ability and instinct and I know you will continue to do well. Our road has not always been easy or smooth. Our lives contain memories that flash before us in an instant.
Pay attention to the little details, for one day they will be the memories that you try and recall just as I am today.
So now….to Aubrey - - To all the roads that you’ve traveled, now let your journey begin.
© Dora Locklear