I did the ugly cry

…and it wasn’t even one of my children who were marching in. It hit me out if nowhere. The moment “Pomp and Circumstance” began to play, tears started popping out of my eyes.

I was standing next to a graduate’s mom who was calmly keeping herself under control, and before I knew it, the “sob” sounds welled up from deep within me. I tried to laugh at myself at the same time, (because it did seen that I was being a bit melodramatic, especially since none of the actual graduates’ parents were sobbing) which only made the noises louder. And then it happened. In the midst of trying to regain composure & remind myself that this is not the time nor the place to break down, my face involuntarily contorted and the ugly cry commended. And no one had a Kleenex.

This weekend, my children & I ran up to Nashville to see some of their friends graduate from the school they would have attended had they finished their teen years there. I shouldn’t have been shocked at the changes in the lives and appearances of their friends when we weren’t looking. After all, we have lived in Mississippi for four years now and neither of my children look & act the same either. But when we left TN, these kids were still children teetering into their teens, and now they are young adults on the edge of their lives’ calling. Where has the time gone?

As I pictured the now grown children of my friends who did mom-life with me in the early years marching to the cadence of that terribly emotional song, I just couldn’t help it. And I still can’t put into words what made me go so far as to make a scene and do the ugly-cry at that particular moment. Seriously… a few ladylike tears occasionally cascading from one eye would have been amply sufficient and certainly more appropriate.

But deep down, I know why I did it. Though I tried really hard not to make this about me in any way (because, duh… It wasn’t!), in the end, that’s how the ugly cry reared it’s ugly head. Because for the next two years in a row, I will be the mom watching her child march down an aisle to turn a corner, with back to all we have known as the norm, and head straight into a fresh new season of life.

And yes! This is such a GOOD thing! It’s why we rear children in the first place… To grow them into adults who will go out into the world to love & serve the Lord & be all about His kingdom until He calls them home. They {our almost grown children} are excited about this and can’t wait to get started… But there is something in my mom-heart that’s just not yet ready for my birdies to leave the nest I’ve been building for 18 years. I don’t even feel like I’ve finished building it yet and here we already stand at the cusp of our babies marching & flying away.

Truly, I am excited for my children & for their friends because God is up to some pretty amazing things in & through each of their lives. It is as it should be in the cycle of life and in accordance with God’s ways. I am so proud of the people they are, of who they are becoming… but I guess I’m grieving the little ones they used to be. My role as their mom is about to change and though I’m sure it will all be good, it just won’t be what I enjoy now…the peace of knowing that at the end of the day, everyone is present, accounted for, and tucked into their beds at home every night.

We are entering a sacred season… one I intend to make the most of and treasure forever. But isn’t that how every season of life really is? No matter who is coming and going in or out of our doors? I remember producing the ugly cry quite a few times before the kindergarten years when we were entering that new priceless and sacred season of life…

I’m beginning to realize that every season is sacred… because every season is appointed by our Sovereign Lord who loves us most of all. Whether we are at the beginning, middle, or nearing the end of a season, the only way to navigate through it with victory and joy is to embrace those same Truths that we so easily reference in graduation cards:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)


Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

Philippians 4:13 (CEV)

From time to time & season to season couldn’t we all use a healthy reminder of these Truths? I know I could!

If you are like me and find yourself in the midst of an approaching change of seasons, I have two prayers for us today:

1. May the Lord graciously remind us of the wonderful plans He has for OUR lives (as well as for our loved ones) so that we can embrace & treasure each moment as sacred.


2. May neither of us ever be caught in an ugly-cry without a Kleenex again!




About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com


  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I love how you put it that every season is sacred. I love that you had tears and wrote about them here….don’t like so much the part about the embarrassing moments without a Kleenex part, because I would have felt the same way. Yet, it seems these tears are expressions of time well-spent…meaningful time and moments together, life having been lived well. Just some thoughts as I