It's 11:14PM on a Friday night and I'm watching a live feed from a graduation in Hawaii. No, it's not one of my children. At least it's not one of my "blood" children. She's one of my adopted daughters. And yes, I have many.
During high school, my daughter's friends used to call me Mommy Shaffer. When she went to college they did the same. I have watched all these girls grow into women, some of them are mothers themselves. I've been to their weddings, sat by them in the hospital, and helped them welcome their own children into the world. Some have graduated from college, graduate school, and gotten a Ph.D. I couldn't be prouder of them.
You see, my heart is big enough to love all of them. I've watched them struggle. I've watched them go through horrible pain. I held them when they cried. And I've been able to share in some of their proudest moments--graduating from college.
Even though they might say that I've been a blessing in their lives, I am the one who has been blessed. It's like I had 20 more children and I've gotten to be a part of their lives, just as they have mine.
So tonight, while they are on the M's I'll finish this up by saying: Congratulations Cassie. Of all my adopted daughters you have grown the most. You have become a loving, kind, compassionate young woman, wife and mother. You've pushed yourself to overcome much adversity and accomplished more than I bet you even thought was possible.
And to all those other "daughters" of mine: Cara, Rose, Renee, Tamara, Candice, Rosa, Jen, and so many others that have come in and out of my life, I'm proud of all of you.