Saturday, May 24, 2008
I am the Mother of a College Graduate (and the wife of an incredible man)
Wow. I can’t believe it.
This morning we sat in the Great Hall at Bethel University. This is the third time I have sat in that auditorium.
The first time was this time of year in 1996, 12 years ago. My husband graduated from Bethel Seminary that year, a couple weeks before we got married. I was with my parents and his family and we were celebrating his achievement as an engaged couple with big dreams of ministry and family and clueless as to how it would turn out.
The second time I was in the Great Hall was in 2004. We stood together, Bart, Kyle, and I at the end of Freshman orientation, during a parent goodbye ceremony that only had one mission statement: Make everyone cry. Bart and I laid hands on our son Kyle and prayed with him and soon after we left him and said goodbye. He began his journey, not as scared as maybe he should have been and we left, not knowing how much we’d miss him.
And today, we watched him graduate. It hardly seems possible that it has been four years. But it has been, and he has made us proud.
When Kyle moved in he was the angriest 11 year old boy I had ever met. Having been abandoned by two moms, a birth mom and a foster mom, he was not interested in having a mother. But he wanted a Dad, and he ended up with a great one. Bart worked night and day to get Kyle to trust him and loved him unconditionally through years of very difficult and challenging behaviors. He was often emotionally exhausted and I, much to my own shame now, was personally not very helpful. SO hurt and angry by Kyle’s hatred toward me, I didn’t do a very good job of being his mom or Bart’s wife for the first four years he lived with us. But Bart hung in there, basically taught Kyle how to write, prepared him for college, gave him his all.
So today, as my children managed to be perfectly appropriate throughout the ceremony, I was very pleased with all of them, but especially very proud of two men. I was proud of my eldest son, who has gone from a 4 year old, setting his own alarm to get to kindergarten, living in a home filled with alcoholism, drug abuse, and domestic violence.... to a foster child, resentful an angry, not interested in attaching to anyone, to an adopted child who had no desire to be adopted ... to a successful high school student... and now to a Private University Graduate, maintaining a great relationship with a wonderful girlfriend.
And I’m proud of my husband, who saw a “seed of greatness” in a very angry troubled pre-teen and nurtured that in him, never giving up. He has loved Kyle unconditionally for over ten years, through some very, very hard times. And that kind of love, along with God’s blessing, has been transformational.
Kyle is a success story... a very powerful one. He has shown that it can be done. I can’t take much credit -- but I can sit back and be thrilled to have been an observer of the power of faith and unconditional love.