Dear Darlings,
Today I sat through another milestone event in your lives, your eighth grade awards ceremony. I watched and beamed with pride (and cried a little) as many of your names were called to receive an award, which marked the end of your academic career at Moody Middle School. Your time there was a small blip, and I think it came to an end more quickly than any of you could ever have imagined. Friday will be your last day with each other, as you all move off to find different paths in whatever high schools you will attend. You knew going into this program that you would have to leave each other at the end of eighth grade. You knew it, but you didn’t understand how close you would become. And now the tears are here, as you hug your last hugs and wave good-bye to the faces and places you called home for the last three years. My tears shed with yours. It was a beautiful journey…watching you go from nervous sixth graders to the leaders of the school. I couldn’t be more proud of all of you if you were my own children. Your laughter, camaraderie, kindness and love for each other was evident today as you cheered and clapped when one of you got an award during your last ceremony in the auditorium of your middle school.
And now, it’s on to the next chapter. It’s what you told us at the end of the video presentation you prepared with pictures and memories of your time together. The video ended beautifully and perfectly when you said, “Today begins a new chapter in your lives. ENJOY IT!” What a wonderful capstone to your years together. Yes, it’s sad and hard to leave your friends and go off on a new path. But it’s also an exciting time, full of wonder and promise if you take those words to heart and ENJOY IT! Remember your time together, and don’t mourn the loss. Celebrate the times to come. Celebrate the next chapter, always.
Sometimes it’s hard for me, as a mama, to remember to do just that. Sometimes I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend you all aren’t growing up way too quickly and right before my eyes. Sometimes I want to mourn for the past, but I know that’s not what you need. I know you need me, and all of us who parent and mentor you, to help you celebrate your lives and your new chapters. So enjoy your new chapter. I’m here to celebrate with you! 
Much love and many hugs…for the love of all of my children!

P.S. Now go share your beautiful light with the rest of the world!

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