It's May 31st. It's a special day in our family. Today marked Eli's graduation from PreK. Look at him. Just beaming with his certificate. He was so proud. Proud enough to actually stand still and pose for a picture. That's my boy.
His teacher discussed his scores, showing where he started in August and where he ended up at the close of the school year. "He's ready, more than ready, for Kindergarten," she stated. Oh yes, he's headed to Kindergarten in just a few short months. That's my boy.
He's been more than ready for school to be out and his behavior has proven that over the last few weeks. He's tested lots of limits, acted up, gotten into trouble, and quite frankly he's just "done" with school. That's my boy.
I've been a little hesitant about the whole PreK graduation. Maybe I was being a little too much of a realist about the fact that he has, at minimum, 13 more years of school. I'm sure there will be a Kindergarten graduation, then an Elementary school graduation, and then a middle school one. When I was growing up, these weren't graduations. These were promotions. Promotions to the next grade, the next level, the next school. Graduation came after high school, and then college. Being most proud of my grad school.
Nevertheless, in the moment, I sat proudly on the front row, all dressed up, camera and iPhone in hand. I saw another family with balloons and a gift. I was suddenly sad I hadn't thought of that too. Regardless, he did it. That's my boy.
His last named earned him the 2nd person being called, and after posing with his certificate, he took his place back on the risers with his class and waited as the rest of his class was called. He got a certificate for participating in the reading program. And when one of his other friends received one, too, he clapped and shouted out, "Yay!!! You did it!" This happened repeatedly as he cheered on some of his classmates. I was beaming. His tender heart. His caring attitude. His awareness of others. That's my boy.
Today is May 31st and the PreK graduation was certainly a reason to celebrate. But today is a day our family already celebrates. Today is placement day. Adoption day. As we affectionately refer to it, "Gotcha Day." Today is the day I walked into a lawyer's office in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, with empty arms and an open heart, and a young 15 year old birthmother placed a tiny preemie baby boy in my arms. Today is the day, 5 years ago, when I walked in empty handed and walked out bearing a son. I didn't physically bear him in my womb, but instantaneously that baby boy became my son and I became his mother. In a moment I knew, that's my boy.
I remember being so nervous. I was so scared I wouldn't bond with him. I was so unsure of how I'd feel holding a baby that I had never even laid eyes on, let alone never felt kick or move inside me. I wasn't prepared. I hadn't had 9 months. I had only been told about him 8 days prior. But something had been stirring inside my heart long before that day. I had prayed, oh how I prayed, not only for a baby, not just to become a mother, but also to love my child. I prayed for a bond to be present, a strong bond that would be felt and sensed and lasting. God answered. All of it. He answered.
It seems fitting that on Elijah's Gotcha Day we're celebrating another milestone. This day is about answered prayers. This day is about becoming a mother. This day is about God's faithfulness even when the situation seems impossible. This day is about a precious life that God was orchestrating and planning. That's my boy!