Tag Archives: college graduation

Time To Cry Tuesday – Graduation (the final one)

danny-grad
A graduation post? Again? Didn’t I just do one of these? I suppose three years could be considered ‘just’ in some circles.

Each time my kids donned a cap and gown, I came here to share the overwhelming emotions attached to watching one’s child ‘grow up’.

There was Jana’s HS graduation; my first experience of letting go. I reread it today and it seemed like both yesterday and 100 years ago. (yes, I cried)

Danny’s HS graduation post brought back the memory of the pending empty nest (which by they way empties and fills again a few times before it is truly vacant). For some reason that was the first of two posts where I had an overwhelming emotional experience in a Starbucks. What the hell is that all about? (Yes, I cried again)

Then there was Jana’s college graduation. I marveled at the woman we had grown as I continue to do every day (yeh, more tears).

So many milestones, so many emotions.

But this time we finally got it right. Instead of all that overwhelming emotion, our graduation trip was a true celebration. We simply had fun! And although I felt very sentimental about leaving Madison after 7 years, I was more excited about my second child starting his life. Danny, in his matter-of-fact, self-assured manner, set the tone. He cut us the slack to be proud but kept the reigns tight on not making it all too big. We have simply had way too much big this past year, and he knew that. With humility and confidence he taught us how to do what he does best… be here now, go with the flow and most of all – enjoy life. (with shades on, of course).

Sure there were mixed emotions, how could one not miss a town with this view that had flyers for a band named Diarrhea Planet and reverse evolution graffiti on the sidewalk. This place is awesome. And my kids are more awesome for having lived there. But all things change. And change is good.

Here is my net of it all:

When your kids first leave for college it feels like an amputation. You think you are losing something you can never get back. You worry about your life changing drastically. Your heart aches as your head is telling you to knock it off and lose the drama. You dread your parental obsolescence.

Here – on the other side – you realize that your kids are not part off you, they enhance you. And you them. You never lose them, for no matter where they live they share their lives with you. Your life will change drastically, and that is a good thing… if you kept going at that custodial parenting pace much longer you would explode. And being someone again, instead of someone’s parent is the natural progression. Let’s face it, you have stuff to do!

Sure your heart will ache from time to time as you watch them struggle and grow, but it is a good ache. It is the physical manifestation of how much you love them. Just like when they were little, they will most certainly fall. The hard part is not trying to fix it for them when they do.

But most of all, parental obsolescence is simply a contradiction in terms. They will always need you, just differently. It’s all good.

Congrats Danny boy, thanks for the best weekend ever. You make us so very proud.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Now go out and be all you can be (and be careful).

 

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, education, family, graffiti, moms, music, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – The College Graduation Post

I thought it would be a good idea to give fair warning in the title to all my friends who are about to embark on the road trip to graduation.

College graduation? Really? How could that be, she looks too young to have a child that age.

What? She doesn’t look so young? Oh right, she just thinks she does. Because she displays adolescent behavior she still feels like she herself is a college student. AND she is a little nuts with this talking in the third person thing. Ah, cut her some slack, her kid is graduating!

Ok, kiddies, here goes:

Four years? Has it actually been four years since I sat at this very keyboard and banged out the High School graduation post that brought us all to our knees? I suppose so, for as I look down at this keyboard I see that the passage of time has worn away any visible signs of both the ‘i’ and ‘n’ keys. (Odd, I know. There must be some significance to those letters, but it escapes me)

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this next rite of passage for my first born. At the beginning it seemed to not be such a big deal; certainly not compared to the emotions of her High School graduation. Sending a child off into the world felt monumental. It was the first step on the long journey of letting go. A tape loop of the curly-headed little whirling dervish danced in my head as I thought of leaving her halfway across the country.

She was SO ready.

I was so NOT.

For the most part we both did really well with it… until the first time she got sick and I felt just how far Madison, Wisconsin was from home. But she survived. And so did I. With flying colors, actually.

As graduation grows closer, the ‘not such a big deal’ theory is starting to get some holes in it. Who the hell am I kidding? I cry at Applebee’s commercials for G-d sake! I sent a 19-year-old kid off to college and this amazing young woman is coming out on the other end. It was like some crazy science experiment… 2 parts Badger, 1 part personal navigation and a 100 inches of snow a year. Shake well, supply digital equipment, a warm coat, a semester abroad, a shoulder to cry on when needed (aka, bitch too) and wait 4 years to see what it morphs into.

And morph she did! She is one of the few people on this earth that can put me in my place and not piss me off while she is doing it. She makes me laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh. She has my warped sense of humor tempered with a level head and a kind heart that floors me more often than not.

Did I mention she and her 80 lbs. of shoes (20 lbs a year) are moving back home. I suppose getting her back makes it easier than letting her go.

Sort of. But as much as she loves us, and our home, we are not foolish enough to think that this is where she wants to be. And as soon as her next chapter begins she will move out… for good this time.

Ouch. Sort of.

Here’s the thing (which BTW is the phrase she always used as a teenager to preface a difficult discussion… ironic). It is time for Miss Jana to become who she will be. And, like most young people her age there is a part of her that is scared to death. So this is for you my sweet girl:

I have always told you that you can do anything that you set your mind to (except maybe pee standing up… that one is tough). You can. Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up – most of my friends still don’t. The most important thing is that you just keep growing up – for the rest of your life. And equally as important, never forget the wonders of being young. Passions will find their way to you. Necessity will rear its looming head and drive you to reach your goals. Life is funny.

When you least expect it, you find yourself just where you should be.

Begin Anywhere.

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Filed under college, Jana, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – This Whole Mom Business

No not a business run by moms, or trying to be a mom and run a business. I am talking about

This

Whole

Mom

Business

I have been doing it for 22 years. And I have to tell you just when you think you have it down and you really know what the heck you are doing…

you find out you don’t.

As I told the director of the nursery school 18 years ago when my daughter graduated the 4’s class, “I don’t transition well”. I was both touched and mortified when she quoted me (not by name, thank goodness) during the moving up ceremony.

So here we find ourselves again, only the moving up is not exactly from the 4’s class. College? Really? And with the transition comes all the growing pains. For the graduate. And her mom.

Sometimes what seems to be the clear path to parenting is actually the train wreck. All I can say is the kind of parent you are and the kind of kid you raised makes all the difference in how you drag each other out of the wreckage. We do pretty good at that in this house.

It also doesn’t hurt to have the right people as friends.

Hold on to your hats everyone, we have crossed over to graduation month. If you have been following along the first and second High School graduation posts were killers.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – May is the New June

When you are a parent of school-aged children, June is one of those months when you think your head is going to explode. There are end of year picnics, concerts, class parties, playoffs and art shows… the list goes on. Every night and weekend is filled with activities. Forget about work schedules and any other outside the family pressures; they all seem to have to take a back seat. Over the years, June started to sneak into May.

And then the kids grew up, went off to college and all of the ‘stuff’ was gone. Did I miss it? Maybe a touch, but not the frenzy.

Enter college graduation weekend.

Halfway across the country.

With all 4 grandparents (I know, AMAZING, right?)

AND Danny, the freshman, moving out of his dorm the same weekend.

With a final at 5PM on Friday.

The Mother of all Mays!

So, as April gently rolls to an end I am beginning to spend my time as the family concierge again. Chief Shlepping Officer. The Grand Puba of Details. There are lists and spreadsheets, reservations and arrangements; all the things that were second nature to me for all those years. I am not going to lie, I am a little rusty. But you know, it’s sort of like riding a bike.

Did someone say empty nest?

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Filed under family, Time to Cry Tuesdays