Our Children Graduating

This post is of a more personal nature but I’m thinking a lot lately about graduation. I’m picturing all of the families who come to graduation and celebrate the accomplishment. For years as a senior class advisor and then as a high school principal, I was responsible for commencement. Every time I told the kids, “yes, this is your graduation but we do this the right way for your parents, that’s why you take it seriously.” For us as parents, it’s a rite of passage, a significant symbolic event, an end to childhood. A big change.

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Our son, Tallon, graduates from high school next month. Our daughter, Bryna, graduated from college in December and is planning a wedding for Spring, 2011. I know I’m always going to be a parent, but parenting changes when they leave for school or the military or workforce and go out on their own.

Now just for the record,  I’m not some psycho helicopter parent by any stretch. We’ve raised our kids to be strong and independent, and I fully support them as they go out to make their own way, in their own way.

But I’ve been a full time working mom for half of my life now and I’m not sure how to adjust my thinking. I feel overwhelmingly sad that this time in our lives is ending at the same time that I’m enjoying the time and attention with my husband. How I’ve always defined myself–working MOM–that’s changing.

I already miss them. And the family of four that we were. We’ll just never be that little team again. We have Cory, Bryna’s fiancé now, and it’s already adjusted our thinking–he’s part of us, I plan for five now, not four. But mostly, I plan for two and when Tallon leaves for St. Bonaventure, that will be even more true.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every part of my life. I loved high school, while others couldn’t wait to get out. I had a blast in college. I thought teaching was going to be my whole life–couldn’t imagine doing anything but teaching at Pine Valley forever. And now at Randolph, I feel like the RCS superintendent of schools is what I’m meant to do. We have wonderful friends who I adore and I still love my husband after 23+ years, what more could I ask for?

To do it all over again. With bells on. For every parent who cries at graduation, for every mom who starts to enjoy doing the kid’s laundry more than you complain about it, for every dad who gets home from work a little earlier because you know your teenager is going to be home that evening–I get you. We’ve got precious little time left in this stage, before they walk the stage–I’m going to savor it and pay attention to it and enjoy.

And I bet the next part’s going to be pretty darned good too.

4 Comments
  1. Thanks for sharing. I am with you, every stage has been great, and I am always sad to see one go but am always thrilled with the one we are on. Thanks for the encouraging words about what is to come and a new perspective to view it from.

  2. Kim,
    …and the tears continue…because I know I’m still at the beginning of motherhood. All those things I have to look forward to and all the moments I don’t want to miss. Thanks for your friendship, kind words and wisdom.

  3. Janet and Mom,

    Mom I love your writing. I was almost in tears (yes I do check your blog from time to time).

    Janet – I thought what you said was wonderful, but don’t encourage her NO grandchildren for AWHILE!!!! (Yes she will be amazing in that role though, I think I will need her more then ever when Cory and I have kids.)

  4. Wow, what a beautiful piece. I am sitting here thinking of my past years when the kids were home. Now they are married and successful and my family has grown immensely what with 6 little grandchildren. That is what it is all about. You get to re-live all of your childs memories one more time but at a slower pace as a grandparent. This chapter in life is well worth the wait!!! I hope that you are able to look forward to this next chapter, you think it’s great now, just wait a few years!!!

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