My wish for you

“I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.

And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ til you find the window…

But more than anything…
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.” ~ Rascal Flatts

She walked down the aisle tonight in her blue, flowing gown, a mortar board atop her head and a tassel rocking back and forth with each step she made toward the stage. She had a smile on her face, I had a lump in my throat and my mom had a tear in her eye.

How we’ve waited for this moment. For my folks, it was their first grandchild to graduate. For me, it was the first of eight nieces and nephews to earn a diploma. For Crystal’s parents, it was finally seeing a child finish high school.

As I write this tonight, the tears are flowing from my eyes and the words are flowing from my fingertips. What to say about the little blue-eyed girl that came into our lives so many years ago?

Crystal was four years old when her mom married my oldest brother. She joined our family along with her two older brothers, and they have become as much a part of who we are as anyone born into the Buntjer clan.

Over the years, we’ve watched them grow up, face challenges, fall and pick themselves back up again.

Tonight was such an emotional night for us because Crystal, the youngest of the three kids, is the first to graduate high school. Her older brothers dropped out for reasons we may not understand, but we hope one day they will earn their G.E.D.’s. They just have to want it for themselves.

That’s one thing I’ve had to learn as an aunt. As much as I want to say, “Go to school, get an education, make a life for yourself or else!” I can’t make them do anything … we can’t make anyone do anything they aren’t willing to do for themselves.

I’ll still be there offering encouragement, and perhaps during this weekend’s celebration offering some gentle ribbing to the boys about their younger sister achieving something they never did. Will it work? Who knows.

But as much as tonight’s graduation reminded me of the missed opportunities of the past, this was Crystal’s night and each tomorrow is her future. This is her success. She may not have been an honor student, the star athlete or the Homecoming Queen, but she walked off that stage tonight with a diploma in her hand, and nobody can take that away from her.

So Crystal, MY wish for you is that you find happiness in whatever you do; that life gives you more joy than tears; that challenges make you stronger, not fall in defeat; and that whatever happens, you know your family will always be here to help.

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