My dear friend Tracy,
Oh my gosh girl! First off - you are deeply missed. I still get a lump in my throat every time I drive past your old house on our street and remember the fun times we had. I will never forget the first time I sat at your kitchen table (which was exactly like mine) the night we met and a friendship was forged. Seeing our boys grow up best friends, survive middle school, girl drama, graduate high school together, serve missions and luckily, you were able to see your Christopher get married. You already know this, but Lukie got married a year ago and our boys still maintain a close friendship. Just like we always wanted.
I just have to tell you about last night though. Your baby girl did it!! She graduated last night! Walked up on that stage, got her diploma and smiled as big as the sun. And of course, the older she gets, the more she looks like you. She is truly beautiful.
I don't have to tell you it's been a tough couple of years for her. Especially this last one. But in spite of the challenges thrown her way - she proved she is stronger than anything that she's been hit with. This last year of high school, she's grown into a beautiful, independent and mostly importantly, a caring young woman. When we have our dinner dates, and catch up, I always come away more and more impressed. You would be so proud of her!
Her senior year was hard Tracy. It was up to HER to make sure she made it to school, wasn't late or at least made up her tardies :), finished her homework (and turn it in), and still enjoy some social life. She worked at a job, kept in touch with family and friends but in most part did it on her own. She's been surrounded by a wonderful support system and I know you are grateful for that, but in reality - she did the work by herself.
But then again, we both know I don't really have to tell you all this. You have never been far from her. I know her biggest cheerleader has been you on the other side of the veil. Always watching, always encouraging, and most importantly letting her feel you close by.
Last night as I sat at graduation watching her and thinking over the past couple of years, my heart hurt a whole lot. For her. For you. For the future and the all the wonderful things in her life to come that she'll be missing you at. I made myself remember the plan of salvation and peace came quickly knowing that the separation is brief. Painful, but mercifully brief. I made myself remember that though you are not here in body to see the amazing things that your beautiful daughter is accomplishing, you are here in Spirit. What a loving Heavenly Father to let us all have that.
So my friend, as you pursue the things that you are busy doing now, and Chelsea continues to move forward - know this......she is loved. Loved so very much. She has a network of people in her life that want nothing more than for her to be successful and to reach every dream she has. Family and friends that will work tirelessly to help her accomplish them. And finally, that you are always missed. Some holes can't be filled and a mother's place is one of them. You'll never be forgotten and never not needed, Chels will always need and will find a way to access your strength and example. Actually, I think she's already shown how to do that. As much as I refer to her as "my girl Chels" we ALL know, she's your girl - always has been, always will be. Thanks for sharing her with me for a little while though :)
Rest easy my friend that she is strong, beautiful, kind, thoughtful, smart and mature. She is planning her future and it looks bright! Sunday will be her first day in Relief Society with me. Holy crap! Did we ever even imagine??? It feels like just yesterday we were going on trek and she was barely 14! And now look at her. An amazing woman. Just like her Momma. Just. Like. You.
I know you would be and are proud of her! As are the rest of us down here. She is so loved. Perhaps that's because she's as easy to love as you were. Two peas in a pod you are. I know you are looking down on her with love, happiness and continued hope for all her dreams to come true. Last night was the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one. Perhaps her first milestone in life without you, so I just wanted you to know, she did great! She did it. She graduated and now she's moving on to the next phase and the next milestone in life. Please stay nearby, she needs you. We all do. Your smile, your encouraging spirit and your never ending happiness.......it's what keeps us all going. I know Heavenly Father has work for you to do, but just don't go too far k?
And finally my friend, thanks for sharing your dear Chelsea. She's a bright spot in my life and I'm proud to call her my friend. You raised a good one sistah - a really, REALLY good one!!
Love and miss you
Thank you so much for inviting me to your graduation! I am so proud of you and it was an honor for me to be there!
YASL!! (to the moon and beyond)