Graduating to Adulthood

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May is always a crazy month in the Witemeyer house. Three of the five of us have birthdays, and on top of that, this year, my daughter (my oldest) is graduating from high school. On my 45th birthday. So in addition to the usual day job and writing and church schedules to keep up with, I’ve also been tackling graduation invitations and juggling numerous award ceremonies, scholarship recipient dinners, band concerts, baccalaureate events, etc. Whew! I’m exhausted already and I’m not even halfway through the month yet.

Tomorrow is Bethany’s 18th birthday. 18. Wow. Where did those years go?

Bethany 9 months old
Bethany 9 months old
First day of pre-school
First day of preschool
Princess Leia for Halloween
Princess Leia for Halloween











Now she’s all grown up . . .

In the bluebonnets
In the bluebonnets
With her flute
With her flute
Her favorite pasttime
Her favorite past time











Bethany in Library 4 smallNext year she’ll be at Abilene Christian University studying Mathematics with possible minors in Computer Science and/or Physics. (Yes, she’s that smart. Graduating valedictorian at her 4A high school. No, I’m not proud or anything.)

FullSteamAhead Cover FinalSo in honor of my daughter’s big day, I’m giving away 2 copies of the book I dedicated to her – Full Steam Ahead. The heroine, Nicole Renard, is a math whiz in the book (just like my daughter) and the hero, Darius Thornton, is a self-taught engineer. A fitting story for a girl who loves numbers.

To enter, leave a comment about a favorite high school graduation memory.

And thank you for putting up with a very non-western post from a proud mama who’s got a tired brain. Ha! Although, Bethany is a Texan and I threw in some Texas bluebonnets, so maybe that helps it qualify. πŸ™‚


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For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at:

67 thoughts on “Graduating to Adulthood”

  1. How proud you must be Karen! As for a high school graduation memory, that’s hard, I’d say, it was actually my husband’s graduation. We were just friends but I had a huge crush on him. He was oblivious. I asked him to turn my ring around (it was a tradition to have an outgoing senior turn an incoming senior’s class ring around). A friend took a picture that I still have today. Little did I know 32 years later he’d come looking for me and ask me to marry him.

    Cindy W.

  2. Time flies! An early Happy Birthday wish to you and your daughter.

    Favorite graduation memory

    National Honor Society members were in charge of decorating the stage for the graduation ceremony. We decided to decorate the stage with lilacs. As my hometown is located on the shore of Lake Michigan, spring comes late and the lilacs weren’t in bloom yet. So we headed out in our cars and traveled along the country roads scouring the empty fields and lands for lilac bushes. Seriously! We ended up finding a huge area with tons of bushes but we actually stole the branches of blooms because we didn’t know who the field belonged to. It did look beautiful! My thanks to whoever unknowingly donated our flowers.

    Enjoy every moment you have with your daughter. Once they move away it’s so hard to get everyone together as a family.

  3. Happy “18th” Birthday Bethany!
    Karen, it sounds like you’re worn out but one day you will look back and miss these days.
    Wow, major in Computer Science you should be a proud momma!
    Now to answer the question, it’s been so long, all I can remember is I wanted to graduate to get out of school so I could work. Senior year I went to school half day and worked afternoons thru Office Occupation class. I had straight A’s in tying, shorthand and bookkeeping. I was working as a bookkeeper for a service station senior year. After graduation I still worked there part-time for another 2 yrs,and I worked as lead lady/office full time for 2 yrs then I got married. I was a stay at home mom, 2 boys, for 19 yrs then I got divorce. Now I’m up in my age, disabled and reminisce about the good old days when my boys were young.
    Love to win a copy of “Full Steam Ahead” sounds like my kind of book!

    • Hi, Donna. It sounds like you knew exactly what you wanted coming out of high school. How nice to be able to move straight into a good job. I’ll definitely get you in the drawing for Full Steam Ahead. πŸ™‚

  4. I hope your daughter has a good birthday and graduation. June is the busy month here. We have 4 birthdays to celebrate. Luckily, three are so close together, they just bundle them together with a cookout at my mother-in-law’s house. I didn’t graduate high school, so I don’t have any memories to share and I don’t have children either.

    • Thanks for the well wishes, Janine. June sounds like a crazy birthday month for you, too. Not only do we have 3 May birthdays in the immediate family, but both my father-in-law and step-father have May birthdays as well. We just celebrate all month long. Hope you enjoy your family barbeque next month!

  5. Congrats to your daughter and happy birthday to the family members this month!
    I’m in the same boat as you, not sure if you remember me mentioning it somewhere, but my son (youngest) is also graduating this year! And technically I am still going to be 45 since my birthday isn’t until August. And there’s a lot going on for the Seniors in May as well, so I understand being wore out & it’s only May 11th!! I can’t wait for it to be over and my life turns normal again, lol!! But at the same token, I want time to slow because I’m not so sure this mama is ready to send her nestling into the world! I’m sure you can relate. Is your daughter’s college very far from you? I bet if it is, that’s going to be super hard for you.

    Favorite High School graduation memory…hmmm, that’s a hard one. I was just glad to be done honestly! I grew up in Illinois and we graduated June 5th. We had an outdoor graduation ceremony and our gowns were black, so you can imagine how hot & humid it was. Not only that, but they used the football stadium to hold it in and we had to walk down a fairly steep hill about half a mile to get there…no joke! Here I was a in heels (as most girls were) trying not to trip and keep my cap from falling off my head! Can you picture that on your mind, lol?? I was never so glad to finally sit down in my life! My last name began with a “P” so in a class of 200-300 students you can imagine how long it took to get to me. But the day ended well, my family gathered at my grandma’s house afterwards for a BBQ party. That was so much fun!
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of “Full Steam Ahead”, it’s been on my radar for a while!

    • So fun to hear all our similarities, Trixi. πŸ™‚ Thankfully, Bethany is going to school close to home, so we are only nudging her out of the nest, not kicking her out. Ha! Makes me feel for my mom when I decided to leave California and travel to Texas for college. I’m glad to have my kiddo closer to home. πŸ™‚

  6. Hard for me to remember 40 years ago. I do remember the prom was about 30 of us and we went to a play then dinner instead of the typical prom thing. Was so much fun.

  7. Happy B-day to your daughter and congrats on her upcoming graduation! For me, it was an odd day… I went to college for my senior year, but came back for my graduation… sadly my friends ignored me… I guess my fav part was having my family there.

  8. Happy Birthday to both of you! Time does fly when you’re raising kids.
    Our crazy month is April. We have eight birthdays between the first and the 13th in our family. It’s always fun and stressful, at the same time. I enjoyed the pics, Karen!

  9. Happy birthday to you and your family members. Thank you for telling us about Bethany–you most certainly deserve to be a proud momma! Congratulations.

    For some reason my graduations were hectic and a blur to me so what stands out is how proud and beaming my mom was at my academic achievements and scholarships. (We had lost my too-young dad in my senior high school year.)

    Just so you know, I already have all of your novels (but not your novellas since I don’t have an e-reader), so thank you for all your lovely books and for enjoyable time I had reading them.

    • I lost my dad at the beginning of my junior year in high school. I know how hard that is. I’m sure your mom found a lot of joy in your accomplishments. πŸ™‚

  10. Wow I bet you are a proud mama. My niece is smart like that in math.
    So I don’t really have a graduation story as I was homeschooled so I was the whole graduating class but on the bright side I was the top of my class and the valedictorian :). Ok on a serious note I am thankful I made it through my high school years. I graduated at 16 with honors in Reading/writing and history but I struggled in math. I’m thankful I had a mama that would take time to help me as much as possible but I ended up just going through basic business math because I could not understand algebra or calculus. πŸ™‚

    • Math is one of those subjects that either clicks or it doesn’t. No shame in being a non-clicker πŸ˜‰ especially with so many other honors. Graduating at 16 means you are smart, indeed. πŸ™‚

  11. I love hearing about author’s families – makes them more real πŸ™‚ Both my daughters just recently had birthdays (I planned for spring births and it worked lol).

    • Ha! My first two were May, then the baby came along and messed up my perfect symmetry and arrived in March. Ha! Actually it worked well. He and my husband have March birthdays and me and the others have May. We have the M months covered. πŸ™‚

  12. I am graduating this weekend πŸ™‚ I have been homeschooled my entire life, but the curriculum we use has the option for homeschoolers to go down to Pensacola, Florida, and have a graduation ceremony. My two best friends will be coming with me! I am so excited πŸ™‚

  13. She is cute as can be and I can’t even imagine how proud you are! High school graduation memory? I guess the best thing was after… I spent the day after graduation packing. My grandpa and grandma took me(along with parents, siblings, cousins, etc) to Disney World for a week as my graduation gift! Such happy memories. ?

  14. My graduation, 44 years ago was in the high school football field. My small school had no indoor facility large enough to accommodate graduates, family members and friends. Of course, we all prayed it wouldn’t rain. And, thankfully it didn’t.
    My memory is a simple one. Marching down the track toward the field as a class, all together, for the last time was mind boggling. Some of us had been in school together since first grade. The scent of the freshly mowed grass, our chairs lined so precisely out there. These things are just as vivid in my mind today. The end of a beautiful small town school experience and an exhilirating send off for our future.

    • I remember the outdoor football stadium, too, Marilyn. Of course, I was in California, so we had less weather issues than other places, but it was still an adventure. πŸ™‚

  15. When I graduated, I was home schooled. We had a large home school graduation for all those in the area. When we got our diplomas, mine was still on its way from the school I logged all my credit hours with.

    So my parents created a diploma for me so I had something real in hand. The comments made in it meant more to me than the real diploma ever could’ve. I have both, but if I could only save one, it’d be the one my parents made for me. πŸ™‚

  16. Congrats! My favorite graduation memory is from last year when my son graduated from high school. We attended an honors banquet where I was able to hear some great stories from his favorite teachers. Now, he’s hone from his first year at Texas A&M. ?

  17. Hi Karen ~ what a month for you! You will need a month to recuperate! Congratulations to your daughter! Enjoy the moment with her! (I still live a bit vicariously through my boys as they have all just graduated from college and are figuring out their lives.) My favorite high school graduation memory was that at the time I lived in CA and Disneyland would shut the part down from midnight to 6am and open it up to just 3-4 high schools. So we had the run of the park for our Senior Trip. Now that was a great time with all my high school friends!

    I’ve already read Full Steam Ahead ~ and loved it. Two lucky winners will be very fortunate!

    • I remember Grad Night at Disneyland! We did that, too. I think there were more than 3-4 schools when we went, but I do remember it being a lot of fun. πŸ™‚

  18. Karen, I am in the same boat as you except it is my uber artistic talented son who is graduating high school at the end of this month. Oh my word, I understand the craziness!:) My favorite graduation memory hasn’t happened yet because it will be when I watch my son walk across that stage and get his diploma. Congrats to your sweet daughter!

  19. just tell to enjoy every day and not to stress too much about her future. Before she knows sill be 45..I promise.

  20. Congrats to your daughter! I remember when my sons graduated. They were SO happy! I guess high school graduation represented an official end to childhood and the beginning of an adult adventure away at college. As for my own graduation, I barely remember it. That was so long ago!!!?

    • I hear you, Cheryl. It is an exciting time. The end of one chapter and the beginning of another. I’m so excited to see where this next part of her story takes her. πŸ™‚

  21. Congratulations, Bethany! Happy Birthday, Karen! I’m hoping to form some new wonderful graduation memories this Friday when my son graduates from Texas A&M University! Whooop! πŸ™‚

  22. Wow congrats on all the happy things at your home.
    I have to say that the HAPPIEST Memory of my high school graduation is marring my most wonderful husband the night before I graduated high school!

    • Wow! Talk about your busy weekend. Whew! How crazy was that? I see why that ranks as your happiest memory. πŸ™‚ I don’t think I would remember a single thing about graduation if my wedding were overshadowing it.

  23. How exciting for you and your family on your daughter’s accomplishment. I loved the picture with her on the floor with a stack of books. Since I came from a very violent childhood I don’t really have any good memories of my graduation. I do know that I was proud of myself even though my parents told me how stupid it was for them to be wasting their time being at the ceremony.

    • Way to triumph over your circumstances, Deana! You’re my hero. πŸ™‚ I thank God that he protected the core of your spirit through such a horrendous time and allowed you to shine all the brighter because of it. Keep shining that inner light in all you do.

  24. Congratulations Karen and Happy Birthday!Congratulations to Bethany,too! Sounds like you have a busy,exciting time ahead of you. Hope it’s wonderful for all of you! I would say one of my happiest graduation moment actually has to do with my niece.I had helped raise her since she was born,and never was I more proud than at her High School graduation ceremony. It was overwhelming to think that my niece who was once a tiny thing in my arms was now a woman getting awards for being top in her class. I hope it’s just as magical for you! πŸ™‚

  25. I remember being in my homeroom for the last time. Everyone was so happy and friendly! I was young and had no idea that so much more was about to happen in life beyond high school!

    • Isn’t that the truth? Teenagers get so wrapped up in their high school world never understanding how much bigger things truly are until they step into the next chapter of their story. I have to admit that my daughter has lived a very sheltered life. I’m excited (and a little nervous) to see how she handles the bigger world she is about to encounter. Praying her through it, every day!

  26. My graduation was so long ago that I barely remember it. πŸ™‚ Now I have grandchildren graduating! Wow, do I feel old! I remember being a little sad when my youngest graduated from high school. I was one of the team moms for her volleyball team, and her friends would come over often. It was fun to be able to do things with her, so I knew it was going to be hard when she went away to college, even though it was only 90 miles away. She was also a Smarty Pants, graduating in Physics, then getting a PhD in Medical Informatics before marrying a Family Practice physician. Now she’s 3 cute little kids and is a stay-at-home mom!

    • Love your story, Winnie! Physics is impressive indeed, but I love that she still chose to stay at home with her children. Nothing is more important than raising those kiddos.

  27. I graduated with over 900 kids ( it was a big school) and I just remember hoping my parents could see me. Then when it was all over and I found my family, the hugs, the joy, and the possibility or adventure made it seem like the first page in a book that would keep me up through the night.

    • I love your analogy, Alyson. It is like turning a page, isn’t it? So many possibilities yet to be discovered, yet early enough that you haven’t figured out the direction your story will take you yet. Lovely!

  28. Birthday Blessings to you Karen and congrats to your daughter Bethany. she is such a talented young lady. My favorite high school graduation memory is just being able to walk down the aisle. I was pretty sick growing up and had to miss alot of high school due to complicated back surgery.

  29. There was only one guy that I had major arguments with in high school. For some reason we could not get along. I was a shy, tall, bookish type that could get along with most people–mostly on the edge go the crowd. Who do you think was my graduation partner?
    You’re right! It was MR. Argumentative. We were both shocked, to say the least.

  30. Congratulations to you and your daughter! My high school graduation was to be the first outdoor graduation at our school. At 11am the decision as made to have it inside. A good choice. I finished my speech,sat down and the thunder boomed and we could hear the rain pounding on the gym roof just as the power went out. I got teased about my powerful speech. I’m sure no one remembers what I said but they do remember the storm.

  31. Karen – I know that you are very proud of your daughter. Happy Birthday & Graduation.
    My graduation was…..memorable, fell going up the steps & coming back down; sneezed after I got the flower with my diploma. Still trying to live that down after 40yrs.

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