Last night was Mia's middle-school graduation. We all got dressed up and went to the local high school for a very nice ceremony with pomp and circumstance and earnest prayers and speechifying about making a difference and even a bit of liturgical dance. Nary a hint of the civil religion we endured at Jacob's culmination last year.
Years ago, I wrote a snarky song for my little sister when she graduated from middle school. The song was entitled "No Big Deal." It suggested that the genuine big deal would be a few years off yet.
I still feel a little of that snark, but I admit that last night was kind of a big deal. Not necessarily because passing 8th grade math and English and science is a significant accomplishment in itself, but because these events give us a chance to look back and see that there has been a whole lot of life invested in this blond 14-year old with a big smile and an iron will -- a whole lot of tears and talk, of playing and praying and laughing and loving, and no small number of mini-van miles. She has been this wonderful gift from God -- to us, and increasingly, to the world.
Pride, it seems, is a potent alchemy of nostalgia, gratitude, humility, and astonishment.