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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Don't Look Down: A Graduation Guide for Parents

Over the past few weeks, my Facebook feed has made me abundantly aware that it's graduation season. Everyone, from kindergarten tots to the middle school-bound, high school seniors, and college grads are donning caps and gowns and big smiles. And their parents, in the precious few minutes of quiet, between hosting graduation brunches/lunches/dinners and posting photos of the celebrations, are reflecting on all that they have achieved, and by "they", I mean the parents. 

These moments, when you dare to look down from the tightrope that we call ordinary time, can be deeply satisfying, but mostly, they just make you dizzy. On the day of my own college graduation over 20 years ago, I remember this weird, frozen look on my mom's face. She also had that same look on the day of my graduation from my master's program, and on my wedding day. Was it a look of gratitude? A little. But, mostly, it was a look of astonishment, a look of bewilderment that this grand experiment called parenthood, and its 6,570 days of dirty laundry, school lunches, colds, coughs, fevers, picky eaters, praying, door-slamming, sleepovers, Cub Scouts, more praying, swim meets, dance recitals, permission slips, first dates, more praying, and curfews was all coming to an end and that she'd made it!  

So now, what do you do? Who do you become? Do you write that book you wanted to write? Do you take that trip that you always wanted? Do you finally quit that job that you've hated? You might not be wearing a cap and gown, but your child's graduation day marks the beginning of a new phase of your life, too:)