He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. Psalm 78:5-7 (NIV)
When oldest son chose a college four years ago, he picked the one farthest away from home where he could still get in state tuition. (To his alma mater’s credit, there were other reasons, but distance was a decisive factor). It proved to be a good choice for those many other reasons but also because he was a day’s drive from home, too far for Mommy and Daddy to come and rescue him when he got into trouble. While we had reason to be thankful for electronic bank transfers, he is now four years older and standing on the edge of the nest ready to fly away. He will do well for he has his diploma clutched tightly in one claw, and in the other, a legacy of family love and encouragement. How many students had every one of his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and sibling drive eight hours to attend his graduation, I wonder? Even a second cousin came along for the ride. While it got stressful at times to have all that family in one place, it was an amazing gift of love. Yes, it is very hard to leave work early, drive so far and turn around and drive home again less than two days later. Yes, the baby’s schedule got messed up. Yes, someone would have preferred more diet coke and another peanut M&Ms instead of plain in the hospitality baskets I prepared for their rooms. Yes, one family got put on a different floor than the rest of us. Yes, not everyone got the king size beds they requested. Yes, grandpa got flustered when it appeared traffic would keep him from getting to grandson’s graduation on time. Yes, it poured buckets of rain as we tried to get from the Civic Center to the restaurant and everyone arrived wet and freezing. Yes, grandma insisted we drive an hour to a restaurant she had heard about where they throw rolls at you. Yes, getting eighteen people anywhere is like herding cats. But, EVERYONE came. EVERYONE was supportive. EVERYONE tried hard to be pleasant and not to get stressed about the little things that went wrong. Even more importantly, EVERYONE was on their best behavior when it came time to meet oldest son’s girlfriend for the first time (well, everyone but grandpa). They showered him with even more love than the rain and hail we experienced after graduation. He goes out into the cruel hard world knowing that at home, there are many people who love him, think the best of him, and pray for him. What better heritage could anyone want than that? Jobs may come and go; girlfriends may not stick around (though if she is reading this, I want her to know we hope she does). Life can be uncertain, but family is a gift from God. This weekend was a reminder of how blessed we are. Oldest son may be finished with school, but his family will never stop loving him.