Last week, I watched our "baby-girl", Veronica Joy, graduate high school. Seeing her in her cap and gown, adorned with her honors cords, I felt an overwhelming feeling of pride. Yet at the same time, I felt a lump grow in my throat. Graduation means accomplishments. But it also means moving on. It means dorm rooms and new friends and an empty chair at the dinner table each evening. It means walking by her bedroom and wondering why it is so clean ... and so empty.I think I’ve been secretly dreading this event since before she was born. Beautiful baby-girl of mine — my little dash of femininity wedged between three boys. She has grown into a young woman.When did this happen? It seems like yesterday she was a little tiny girl, toddling around my kitchen, “helping” Mommy, her golden-brown curls tied up in a big, pink bow. When did she grow up? When did she stop toddling around my kitchen, baby doll in her arms, and turn into this beautiful young woman I see before me now?We have a home video of me with our four kids having a backyard camp-out. We are roasting marshmallows and playing Candyland. We are making dozens of trips back and forth from the house with more blankets, more pillows, more snacks, and many more baby dolls. My husband, Tony, asked me, "Just why is it we are doing this?” Looking at the piles of blankets and baby dolls I begin to ask myself the same question. But then I remember, "We are doing it because we can." "Works for me," came his reply.That is the last videotape we have before I was diagnosed with cancer. “Because we can” are the words that rang in my ears from that moment on. I promised myself over and over that if I survived I wouldn’t be too busy, too grownup, too preoccupied to do what made no logical sense, simply because we could. I’d find a way to connect, to create, to cuddle, to care in a very active way. I’d do it because I’d be just so very grateful if only I could do it. I’d live each day fully and I’d seize every opportunity to actively live love.Life happens so fast. We all have our lists and our errands and our planning. We have our jobs and our deadlines and the things that we “must” do. We work so hard so we can give so much. And we do it all for these dear people whom we love with our whole heart. But in the doing, do we forget the loving? Do we become so busy with what we think must be done that we forget what really matters? Do we find ourselves cutting corners, rushing through life, and skipping the pages?I was one of those moms who never just laid my babies down to sleep. I nursed them, rocked them, held them, and Tony and I read story after story to them. This practice may not seem to be an effective use of time management. But a family is not a factory. And parenting is not a job. Being a parent is a calling. So often, we are led to believe that if we are just efficient and organized enough, we can have wonderful family lives and we won't have to give up our personal time and space and order. This is a lie the culture tells. Women's magazines shout their messages of self-fulfillment and self-indulgence. Yet it is precisely when we give up our personal time and space, when we die to ourselves, that our lives are filled with a light we couldn't imagine when we sat with our planners and their tight little squares.Seeing Veronica graduate made me grateful for all those nights I sat with her, rocked her, and read story after story to her. Because those moments will never come again. Ever.So treasure each moment. Cherish each memory. Read lots of stories.But don't ever skip any pages. Therese Corsaro attends St. Mary Church, Palmdale, and teaches at St. Mary School.It is precisely when we give up our personal time and space, when we die to ourselves, that our lives are filled with a light we couldn't imagine when we sat with our planners and their tight little squares.