From the moment our children come into our lives they become our whole world! When they are very small we hold them close and protect them, usually starting off by baby-proofing the whole house. It seems that every stage in their lives comes with new independence for them and new things to protect them from for us.
With our oldest daughter all these things are exhilarating and terrifying. For me, Katelyn exposes us to everything “new” for the first time. I like to think that she clears the way, smooths the ground and paves the road for this journey called parenting. Sometimes I forget that she is growing up because no matter what she is doing I see my first-born, little girl.
My biggest fear is always the choices that we make as parents along the way. We want to make sure that she will have all the opportunities to achieve her life dreams. It is so important that all of our children are strong, confident and brave. The world is a very scary place! If we have guided them to be honest, caring and compassionate, then we are doing something right.
As she usually does, Katelyn brought me to tears last night. She is staying about and hour and a half away from home for a four-day weekend. Being an active member of the Lakes Region Chapter of the New Hampshire FFA, she is attending the State Convention! She was selected to receive an award. She had to work hard for this award, preparing her resume and interviewing for it. The award is given out in four levels. While we had received notification that she was selected for an award, we had no clue what level she had qualified for.
We made it to the Radisson hotel, I felt like we were stepping back in time, it looked like a castle! Katelyn met us in the lobby. She gave us a tour of all the floral arrangements that had been entered for judging, including hers. We saw all the FFA Chapter displays, all including the word “Voltage”. Later we learned it is the theme word for the year for the FFA nationally.
Surrounded by blue corduroy jackets and Chapter members in their Official Dress, it was hard not to feel the electricity in the air. We took our seats and we were instantly surrounded as they formed a massive conga line, parading through the entire banquet hall. The music, dim lighting and hundreds of young leaders with their glowing smiles ignited and spark inside me. This was exactly what I wanted for our daughter. Seeing her in this element, with all the other FFA members that share a passion for agriculture like she does, all I could feel was joy!
The session was called to order and I felt honored to be able to experience this with her. You see, I spend a lot of time with our children and their 4-H clubs, but I never really get to be a part of her FFA experience. I finally felt like I got to connect with her on her FFA journey!
Award time came. There were four members from all over our great state of New Hampshire that were asked to take the stage. The awards were to be read from lower level to highest level (all of which are a big deal!! These awards are for entrepreneurship, these are all young leaders preparing to start their own business!). As I sat there listening and applauding for each recipient my heart pounded harder, waiting to here “Katelyn Yazinka” over the speakers. When her name wasn’t even the third name called my eyes began to well up and I was short of breath. Her eyes met mine as we both realized she was receiving the top honor! I was exploding with pride! It was just one of those moments that you learned so much from. I know she is a strong person. I know she will be successful. I know she will never give up on her dreams in life. A moment where I can say she has grown, taking another step towards independence.