Forgive me for being THAT dad right now but last night our youngest child graduated from high school. There are a lot emotions and thoughts running through our house right now.

Last night we attended the final graduation for us as a family. Our baby girl, Princess 2.0, walked across the stage and received her diploma. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had so much pride in her journey and accomplishments. It also represented crossing a finish line for my bride and I. They all finished the high school race. They did it well (thanks to my bride). They finished strong. This is one of those landmark moments.

Our oldest graduated college just a few weeks ago. Another milestone. Our middle is set to finish college next summer. No matter what happens or the timeline, they all finished their high school journey. All with honors. All with their character and heart in place. That’s not a brag. It’s homage to their efforts and dedication to see it to the end (and my bride).

As we enjoyed our last high school graduation last night, I could not help but love the senior song for Davidson High School – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I also couldn’t help but reflect as it played through the arena speakers.

Goodbye yellow brick road because, at times, our parenting journey has been like the Wizard of Oz and every character in it.

DORTHY

I feel like we all start here. Dorthy arrives and has no idea what to do. She’s in an entirely new world. Who are these people? Who do you trust? What path do I choose? What advice should I listen to? There’s no going back now.

THE SCARECROW

The first character Dorthy meets on her journey is the scarecrow. As parents, isn’t that so fitting? We leave the hospital and they don’t give us a manual. There’s no youtube video (at least not when we did this thing). There are only those that have gone before us. We listen to advice, buy the books and do our best but honestly, we have no brain when it comes to these new little ones. We just trust that God gave them to us and do our best. Whatever that means for each one of us. Our legs aren’t stable at first, but we find our way.

THE TIN MAN

Next up on our journey, we meet the Tin Man. We are the Tin Man too. Yes we adore and love the little ones in our home. In many ways, they take our hearts. We give it all to them freely. We lose ourselves pouring so much in to them. Suddenly our passions and the things that were our heart are no longer critical. We give it to them. We sacrifice it for their hearts, wants, needs, and desires. At times, it can feel like we lost a part of ourselves but we all need a heart. Rust and all. We know it will return one day when we meet the Wizard. For now, our goals and dreams are to make sure they have a heart and it beats for all the best things.

THE COWARDLY LION

The journey continues for us as parents and all we want is the courage to know our decisions are right. What school? What team? What advice? What guidance? What words? What do you do to mend a broken heart? What do you say when they do what we all did? How do you shepherd them? Each bedside chat comes with a fear and maybe even concern that we’re cowardly guiding them into a great unknown too.

THE WIZARD.

Ultimately we parents just want to get them home. We just want to get them to the Wizard. We want them to receive all of their gifts along the way. Wisdom, courage, hearts, and strength. We want to know we did it well. The yellow brick road was a journey, but we all made it. We did it together. We saw it to the end.

The line that got me the hardest as I sat in that graduation was “You know you can’t hold me forever.” As parents we know that. No sooner do we leave the hospital, we know it. It’s in the back of our mind as they crawl, walk, start school, learn to ride a bike, learn to drive a car. That first date, that first heartache. Choosing their future. The day they get their diploma.

We know we can’t hold them forever.

We just hope we gave them all the best things on the yellow brick road.

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