I’ve been attending several school concerts and end-of-the-year functions lately. My eldest daughter has been part of a school music program since grade school and is currently involved in two high school orchestras, the school’s advanced orchestra and the elite chamber orchestra. The end of the year city-wide concert was last week.

Our school system has always combined orchestras in a final concert involving those from all of the schools in the city. The combined grade school orchestra plays selections, followed by the junior high orchestra, followed by the three divisions of high school orchestra. This way those new to the orchestra program in grade school can hear the awesome advanced and chamber high school orchestras and be inspired. Parents can see the progression of talent through the years as children graduate to ever more sophisticated musical achievement.

And every year seniors have mylar balloons tied to their orchestra chairs to signify they are graduating and that the concert is their final concert. They are honored individually at the end of the concert.

While in grade school, my daughter heard the high school concerts, and her dream was to be a member of those orchestras. She is now first chair in the most elite high school orchestra in the school system, the chamber orchestra.

Next year she will have a balloon on her chair and when I see it I’m sure I will cry most of the way through the concert. I probably won’t see much of the performance. Just watching the concert this year I had trouble keeping it together.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I wasn’t expected to live long enough to see my daughter play a final concert in her grade school orchestra. Or her junior high orchestra. Seeing the balloon on the chair of a graduating senior was at the time I was diagnosed a future beyond my comprehension.

I know now life has no guarantees and that none of us are promised tomorrow, but I am ever so grateful for every landmark I experience in my kids lives now. Seeing a balloon on a chair next year will fill me with a gratitude I won’t be able to contain.

It’s unbelieveable. I’ve been here for 6 years of tomorrows in my kids lives.

I am blessed.