(It is high school graduation time for many. I wrote this poem 15 years ago when my daughter, Meredith, graduated from high school.)

It was eighteen years ago when you came into our home;
It seems like only yesterday but my mind does tend to roam.
You arrived with screams and cries that were heard all over town;
After twenty cups of coffee, I finally got calmed down.

We took you home from the hospital in a cute little yellow dress;
Had we not forgotten the diaper, it wouldn't have been such a mess.
You laughed, warbled, and cooed, we even heard you chirping;
And as I recall, daddy's little girl was especially good at burping.

When you were three years old God brought you a baby brother;
You loved him so very much back then you tried to be his mother.
When you helped us with his feeding you struck a pretty pose;
But when you helped us with his diaper, you just turned up your nose.

We provided dancing lessons to broaden your education;
I even attended your recitals, with a lot of hesitation.
The first five hours were worth it for the chance to see you dance;
You moved like Nureyev, the others like bees were in their pants.

You became a teenager and I asked one question with gloom;
Why does it look like a garage sale exploded in your room?
We showed it to an interior designer who said it was a hoot;
She said if she had to classify it, the motif would be early Beirut.

We watched "Young Frankenstein" what seemed like fifty times;
Laughing and saying together, all those wonderful lines.
There were some words about life that were truly meant for us;
"Stay close to the candle, the stairway can be treacherous."

Through all of your first eighteen years we've really had a ball;
Through scrapes, scars, boys and cars, I would change nothing at all.
Now you've finished high school and I  don't know what to say;
You're going off to college, I'll just look to God and pray.

There will be a void because of your absence, I know it is to be;
I'll miss your laugh and your wisecracks, they say you're just like me.
It is difficult to see you leave but I know that it is best;
Because nature would have no choir if the birds stayed in the nest.

Through the years I've held you close, now my little girl is grown;
I can't be there to hold your hand, but you won't be on your own.
When you finally get to Ouachita simply listen for the chime;
It will remind you that I love you no matter what the time.

In four more years we'll do this again, another wonderful day;
If financing college is what I've heard, I will have just begun to pay.
Then one day I'll turn around and you'll be walking down the aisle;
I'll look back over the years and say, "It seemed like only a while."

I better say one more thing or I will never again get the chance;
Even as I think of you now, the tears have begun their dance.
It has taken years to get it back because I thought someone had lost it;
But the search for Noah's ark is over, they found it in your closet.

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