Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Great Accomplishment - Cayla

We've had a rough week. If you read my last post, you know my friends, my kids, my whole church family has taken a very hard loss. I read a FB post from one of these people that I care for and she said "It's hard to me that life just has to keep going on like normal. Why can't it stop for a minute?". I think everyone touched by this has felt like that. Like we just need a minute to catch our breath, to process the events. The hard reality is... life really does have to keep going on. It's just the way of it.

Today, is my oldest daughter's last day of high school. It should be a happy day for her. It should be a joyous celebration for us. It's overshadowed by sadness. But that is life. Life is a constant blending of conflicting emotions. A constant justification of actions versus reactions. It is an unpredictable, sometimes beautiful, sometimes heart wrenching mix of good and bad, high and low, and it is ever changing and ever moving toward our next destination. Life just keeps going on like normal.

Today while the other grads are leaping and whooping it up on their last day, I wonder if my daughter will be able to shelve her sadness long enough to revel in this moment. This great accomplishment. She's not had it easy. There have been many obstacles to her success. She has arrived in a big way.

Let me tell you what my dear girl has overcome to get where she is today. I need to brag on her a bit. She deserves to be bragged on.

Cayla has attended 3 different high schools in 4 years. Changing schools is never easy. She's done this willingly, and part of her decision to switch schools the last time was for the sake of her dear old mom. I don't know that I ever told her what a burden she lifted from me when she decided to get on the bus and go to the local high school. She did it to make my life a little less hectic, a little more manageable. I've spent her entire high school career in nursing school. I did it for all of us, but Cayla has carried a huge chunk of the effect of my decision. She's been Jr. mom to her siblings. She's waited in libraries and lobbies for me to pick her up when I got out of school. She's done her homework in hallways, in the car, late at night and early in the morning. She's sacrificed doing "teenage" things. She's paid for her own proms, graduation, homecoming dances and football games. We just couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. While trying to keep herself on track she has also worked to help keep me on track. Yes, there are many, many others who helped us, but Cayla did more than most kids would have. She did it without complaining (too much) and she has never once, not one time, thrown it in my face that she has had to do all of this to help her mother, who by all rights, should have been helping her.

Cayla, unfortunately, got my math gene. Or my lack of one. Math is a four letter word, you know. She's had to work extra hard in that area. She's succeeded. Then there is Chemistry. Don't even get us started there.
But she's worked hard and done her best, and I'm proud of her.

She's had to deal with her father seeing her and her sister less and less. He blames me of course, but that's for another post. The fact of the matter is she's pressed through most of her senior year without him. She's had a broken heart and we all know a broken heart makes it hard to function. She overcame, pressed on, pushed through it and succeeded.

She got a job in December. She has a strong work ethic. She gives everything she does her all and they have noticed. Which is good. Except they want her to work all the time. So she does. And she has less time to study, to relax, to be a teenager, than ever before. Welcome to the world kiddo. Ain't it great?

Jordan's death marks at least 4 young people Cayla has had the honor of knowing and the grief of losing. She wasn't as close to any of the others as Jordan, but they've all hit her hard. This one is the worst. And it's finals week.

At last check my baby's GPA is a 3.2 (we're hoping final grades will be 3.3 or better!). She earned a scholarship at Spring Arbor based on her efforts. That's amazing! Look what she's done! She has far exceeded what most people in her shoes would have or could have done. I am so proud of her!

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, whatever she puts her mind to she will accomplish.

Cayla, I love you. I want you to know that. I'm proud of what you've done and the woman you're becoming. I pray when you get to college you'll have some of that time you sacrificed to help me and help our family grow and succeed. You deserve it. I pray for good friends, good instructors, good decisions and good times ahead. The Lord knows you deserve them.

Cayla, take time to be happy today. Take time to be a kid. Give yourself the break that the world won't and let out a yell of joy for what you've done. You're amazing.


  1. Cayla is an amazing young woman and very thoughtful. All what she has been through in the past will serve to strengthen her in the future. Not many children would take on a job to pay for the things they want, or even move schools to make life easier for someone else. Yes, you should let everyone know about it. Cayla's story will encourage other young people and give hope to others who may one day find themselves in her situations.

    Even if Cayla does not celebrate her end of school now, don't allow this matter to be dropped. One day, unexpectedly, surprise her by doing something nice to celebrate the day she missed out on. Maybe get a few people from her school or church to have an afternoon out with her and make if real fun or take her to a surprise dinner party etc.

    Cayla, has definitely got her head screwed on in the right place. You must be so proud of her :)

  2. I am very proud. I can't find words for how that kid makes my heart swell. Yesterday, I went to pick her up (they got out at a half day) and as I watched her leave the building she really did let out a yell of joy and she even did a silly little dance. She was covered in blue paint (school colors) and she was hugging and high fiving people. It made me cry. She's balanced. That's just the best. Thanks RPD, your comments are always thoughtful and so appreciated.

  3. Oh, this is so sweet! Cayla sounds like an amazing, strong young lady. You know what, Traci? It's not always a bad thing if your kids have to pay their own way through life--I could never afford all those little extras in school for my kids either--they had to work for EVERYTHING they wanted. They got jobs when they were young and have worked hard ever since. And the best part? They are not spoiled like so many young kids are today. They are totally self-sufficient.You did the right thing all along--you were her role model by showing her how you persevered through difficult times and worked hard to get where you are today. She sees the pay-off from hard work---your success! You honor her here so beautifully---but I'll bet she feels equally honored to have you as her mum! Another beautiful, heart-felt post, Traci. XO