Those time-honored traditions of high school graduations are underway and I’m thinking about all you weepy mamas out there experiencing the joy and heartache that comes along with it.

High school graduation is a big deal. It’s the first step your child takes into semi-adulthood, venturing out into a big, uncertain world you can no longer protect them from.

So mamas, I feel you. 

Graduation is one of those rare times that forces us to re-examine our own lives and acknowledge the fact that it’s changing. Fast.

My kids are all grown now, but I remember when they were little and my sons - just 20 months apart - were both in diapers. I was a stay-at-home mom back then and can recall those days like yesterday. 

Etched into my memory is the overwhelming joy I felt as a young mother - the happiness I felt when I rocked them to sleep, listened to their laughter and breathed in that dirty dog smell they used to have after a day of playing outside. 

We spent a lot of time reading Dr. Seuss, and I can still recite every word of "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish." 

What I also remember about those days is that they were sometimes exhausting. 

I spent a lot of time wiping butts and noses, filling juice cups and eyeing the clock for that coveted hour when both boys would lie down to take a nap. 

When D.J. was five and Aaron was three, their sister Brooke was born, and from there things only got more hectic.

With three kids hanging from my hips, I was often frazzled and tired, and during those moments, I was reminded by parents who had already raised their families to slow down and savor the moment.

"It will go by so fast," they would say.

But during those years of sleepless nights and runny noses, I didn't believe the kids would ever learn how to dress themselves, much less graduate from high school and leave home.

But then it happened - and just like you - nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of emotions.  

Time, of course, did its thing, and kept marching on. Today, both of my sons have graduated from college (my oldest graduated from medical school on Friday and is heading to Miami for his residency) and are chasing their dreams. 

My daughter will soon begin her senior year at Texas Tech and is fully enjoying the college experience. 

Believe me fellow mamas when I say the next phase will whiz by equally fast, so listen up: The best thing you can do right now is to savor these moments. Laugh, cry, mourn a little and celebrate big. 

And keep those tissues handy because you are going to need them.

And to the Class of 2019, congratulations!

Get out there and make a difference in this big, beautiful world. We are all rooting for you.

Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune and Glen Rose Reporter. She can be reached at 254-965-3124. Follow her on Twitter @ETEditor.