Tag Archives: graduation

Mom and the Man

JackFour years ago, he graduated from high school. Four days ago, he graduated from college. I thought I couldn’t be more proud of my oldest son as when he boldly and confidently marched himself into his Kindergarten class without so much as a look back at me; not until he boldly and confidently marched across a stage to accept a high school diploma. Well, paint me ignorant because neither matched seeing him pause mid-handshake with the president of the university, diploma in the other hand, while a photographer captured that moment he became a college graduate.

And so the washing machine that is my life hits the spin cycle again. You’d think I’d get used to this. You’d think.

What I’m realizing about being a parent, now that my babies are turning into adult people is, if you do it right, they go away. Suddenly, that seems really messed up! If you invest your heart, you’re life’s allotment of patience, a small financial fortune, and any hope of developing a solid sleep pattern, your reward is to see the back of their heads as they charge off boldly and confidently into their lives. Just when you finally get them to the point that you really want to hang around them, they leave! So messed up.

But, too, if you really do it right, you give them a phone. It’s like one of those tracking devices they put on dorsal fins of orcas. Even as your kids get all adult-y, they’ll still use that phone to call you about the really important things in their lives: How long does it take for hard-boiled eggs? What do bedbugs look like? Where do you get pants altered? Yes, your role in their lives is basically to be their personal Google search, but that’s okay. It means they can handle the big things in their lives themselves.

So as my oldest spreads his big, strong wings to fly, I watch the back of his head as he marches off to do big things. He’s bolder and more confident than ever, but I know, too, he’ll glance back. When he does, I’ll tell him hard-boiled eggs take about 12 minutes, bedbugs look like little apple seeds, the dry cleaner can alter the pants, and I’ll always be here, always proud, always loving the man he’s become.

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And Then There Were None

Jean___Thomas2Mom and Tom2In just a few days, my tenure as a grade-school parent ends. Despite those times when we just weren’t sure if it would really happen, my youngest son will graduate from high school – We hope. Although, there is still time. Not until I actually hear his name called and the diploma put in his hand, will I breathe. That’s the same time his counselor will stop eating Valium like LifeSavers, the principal will stop considering a career change, and his first period teacher will look up and think, “Oh! That’s who that kid is. His face isn’t familiar.”

I’ve always said he is the child my parents wished upon me. This is the kid that would have qualified us for the elite Navy Seals special ops supreme command of Parenthood if such a thing existed. He has made us battle ready for any level of mischief, mishap, or outrageous improbability. While they say it takes a village to raise a child, I disagree. In this case, it takes a village, a fully functioning medical/surgical facility, an offshore bank, several high level negotiators, a contact at the United Nations, a building permit, and friends with “connections.”

Then just about the time I think I’m on the top of my parenthood game, he’s leaving. He never listened when I told him to clean the bathroom, wash denim separately, or mow the lawn. But when I told him to dream big and chase after it, he listened to that! I pushed him to take harder classes and do his homework on time. Of course, he never did that. But when I push him to be independent, smart and self-sufficient, he’s all over it. What the heck?!

So it seems I have worked myself out of a job — a job with rotten pay, long hours and amazing benefits. It’s a job I have loved more than anything else and one I must have done right. The last little bird in the nest is spreading huge, strong, powerful wings that will let him soar to places beyond what either of us could have dreamed.

And just as he did when he marched off to Kindergarten, he’s not looking back. If he did, he’d see the endless pride on my face and my heart in my hands. He’s going to be great! And I’ll be okay, too.

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No Do-Overs

010In just a few shockingly short days, my oldest son will graduate from high school. It brings on a spin cycle of emotions and memories and moments when I’m not sure I can breathe. Throughout the run up to this major life event, I have learned a few key things that might be helpful to others who are in the same boat or see the boat pulling into the harbor in the next few years. If this is a been-there-done-that for you, see if you don’t back me up on this.

First of all, if you’ve never been involved in community theater, do that now. You’re going to have to learn to be an actor. For example, you’ll need to act like you’re not having your heart scooped out of your chest with a grapefruit spoon all the time – last school dance, last birthday at home, graduation ceremonies, college acceptance letters. You have to act convincingly like you’re really ok with this black hole vacancy that’s going to move in when your baby moves out.

Consider magician as your new career field. It’ll come in handy when you need to magically produce cash for prom, grad night parties, announcements, dorm deposits, tuition payments, and, oh by the way, “I outgrew my dress clothes last week” so throw in a new suit and shoes. Magician Mom will benefit from a little mind reading to know when this young adult is feeling more adult or a little too young for such a big world. Not to mention, you’re the one who will magically make all the details of this transition happen because your soon-to-be-graduate is far too caught up in finals, friends and fun.

Then, prepare to be baffled. I’m constantly baffled at how we went from chicken nuggets and nap time to charging off to conquer the world in just a few minutes. It was only minutes, right? And why is that as soon as they start becoming these really cool people that you actually want to be around, they leave? Why don’t they go off to college when they’re teething or colicky or in that horrible hormonal stage that renders them unrecognizable? Just when you’ve gotten them turned into great people, they move out.

Is it too late to rethink raising that baby into a strong, intelligent, independent young man who is ready to spread his wings and fly? Probably no do-overs at this point, huh? Then all I can do is hold my breath and watch him soar! Go get ’em. Jack!

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