I have been caught up in the whirlwind of activity that typically surrounds high school graduations: final exams to be graded and grades to be submitted, graduation ceremonies, and parties. This year I have graduated my son. He has been homeschooled since Kindergarten. I jokingly told my sister that marriage is the longest thing I’ve done until I remembered that being a mother came first. (Oops!)
My son decided he didn’t want to participate in the graduation ceremony held by our homeschool group; my husband supported that decision and I just went along. Now that the flood of graduation photos has ceased over social media I feel that I can safely say I’VE BEEN ROBBED! Every time I’ve seen photos of friends with their graduates I’ve experienced a pang of jealousy and regret. I’ve come to realize I needed this closure; an acknowledgement of this milestone.
Graduation ceremonies aren’t really for the graduates; they’re for the parents of the graduates. Yes, my son has graduated. Yes, I’m proud of him. He’s off to join the military shortly. And I…I am left with my memories. Memories of him as a newborn (with a gargantuan head), a naughty toddler, his first day of Kindergarten, the year reading finally “clicked”, when he finally caught up to me in height, his first driving lesson–I cherish them all. I am blessed to have been able to spend every day with him and teach him all kinds of things. But let’s face it, people, it has been 18 years!
I think back to the day I left the hospital with him after he was born. I couldn’t believe those people were going to let me take this little bundle of humanity with me! The sense of responsibility that comes from realizing this little life is depending solely on you can be paralyzing. Well, I didn’t let it paralyze me. He’s safely grown and raring to leave the nest. And now…now I want to know: where’s MY trophy? A picture with the smiling graduate after the commencement exercises would have been the best trophy, and would not have left me with any ill feelings toward friends on Facebook.
As I write this I’ve come to realize that I get the award for participation, you know, the ones coaches, teachers, and those in authority like to give out to the poor saps who have done nothing to distinguish themselves. But I realize now that that is the only award I need. I’ve fully participated in nearly 7,000 days of this boy’s life and I am so thankful for the opportunity. And I’m also thankful that I have another child who WILL participate in the graduation ceremony six years from now. 😉