They start as little babies.
There they are, lying all helpless with their eyes closed tight, dreaming their dreams about nothing. Then you reach for them, and ever so gently pick them up and cradle them close so you can smell their special baby scent. Their eyes slowly open, they smile and reach out with their little hands and squeeze your finger so tight you can feel it in your heart.
Fast forward now to their first day of school. They are dressed in their best clothes, hair neatly combed, and they are absolutely terrified. But what they feel is nothing compared to what is coursing through you. So you walk them to class, meet their teacher, sit with them a short while then quietly make your way out of the classroom and back to your car, trying your best not to cry. And failing.
Now, as teenagers, their days are spent sleeping, school and hanging out with their friends. There's no time for the family what with friends, work and all those after-school activities.
You give them chores: make them clean their room, make their bed, do laundry and even cook a little. They complain loudly how unfair it all is. But they don't yet realize you're not making them do chores so they'll stay home. You're making them do chores so they'll know what to do when they leave.
Now it's Graduation Day.
The invitations have been sent, the relatives are in town and the cap and gown are hanging neatly in the closet waiting for that important wearing.
It's time to wake them up so they can get dressed, eat breakfast, meet with the relatives and then start to prepare for one of the most important moments of their lives.
But you're standing in the shadows of the doorway of their room. There they are, lying all helpless with their eyes closed tight, dreaming their dreams about nothing. Then you reach for them and ever so gently shake them awake, and at that moment --for just one instant -- you can smell their special baby scent. Then their eyes slowly open, and their smile squeezes you so tight you can feel it in your heart.
This is everyone's special time. Enjoy it to the fullest.
And Graduates: as you walk down the aisle to accept your diploma, realize that although your parents are watching you take this important step, they are also thinking about the times you took your first ones.
Cherish this moment, everyone.
Dawn Krebs is the associate managing editor of the Hometown News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.