It’s that time of year! All the high school and college bands are brushing up on their Pomp and Circumstance, girls are picking the perfect dress that will only be covered up by their graduation gowns, and boys are trying to fit all that hair under their caps. Parents are running around planning the perfect party, and seniors are trying to live their best final high school or college lives. In other seasons of life, preschoolers are also wearing caps and gowns, and moms and dads are planning for kindergarten. The end of May/beginning of June is a tough time of the year!
The emotion of it all hits differently for different people. Those with tiny graduates are holding back tears thinking of their babies going off to school with the big kids soon, those with high school seniors are trying to make the most of their last summer before whatever comes next, and parents of college grads are wondering if their young adults are ready for the real world. Like I said, it’s a tough time across the board!
I’m not sure I’ve ever worked so hard to control my emotions as I have on graduation days. From preschool graduation, to 5th grade graduation, to 8th grade graduation, to high school graduation, all these times of leveling up is hard on us parents. Our babies grow so fast, and we see the years slipping away each time they hit a milestone. Shoot, where are the tissues?
I beam with pride for them, and I want to make sure they feel how proud I am and how much I love them, but I’m a total mess. Every time. I’m fighting all the feelings and just trying to get through the day without completely losing it in front of an entire gymnasium full of people. You know what? I finally realized everyone else is doing the same. We are all stifling complete meltdowns to save face in front of each other. How stupid is that? Why do we think it’s not ok to show that emotion? Our babies are growing up and we should wear those emotions proudly, like badges of honor. We got them there! We have made it to yet another level. So here’s a list of badges I have created for you all and myself to hold on to as we watch our cherubs move from infant rooms at daycare or the church nursery all the way to adulthood. You may qualify for a few, or all of these; no matter the number, wear them proudly.
1. I Provided 21,000 meals Badge
2. I Forced Them to Shower Regularly Badge
3. I Provided Team Snack a Million Times Badge
4. I Did a Million Loads of Laundry Badge
5. I Spent 52,000 Hours Doing PTA Stuff Badge
6. I Was Always Room Parent Badge
7. I Cheered Them On So Hard Even When They Sucked Badge
8. I Let Them Play in Puddles Even Though the Mud Made Me Cringe Badge
9. I Let Them Learn from Their Mistakes Badge
10. I Taught Them to Drive and I have an Ulcer to Prove It Badge
11. I Survived the Threenager Badge
12. I Survived the Adolescent Attitude Badge
13. We Made It Through Geometry Badge
14. The What Are You Wearing Badge
15. The You’re Not Wearing That Badge
16. The Multiple ER Visits Badge
17. The I Loved Them Through Heartache Badge
18. The I Bit Through My Tongue While he/she Dated People I Couldn’t Stand Badge
19. The I Survived Find That Smell in Their Rooms Badge
20. And finally, The I Turned Into My Own Parents Badge
I’m sure you have a thousand other badges to award yourself with. Journal that schizz- you earned it.
As you head into whatever leveling up ceremony you have coming up, don’t stifle those emotions. Let the tears roll, friends. Everyone else is feeling just like you. Embrace it, and embrace each other. We are so proud of them. We are so happy for them. We are grieving yesteryear. We are excited for their future. We are devastated it goes so fast. We love them so much it breaks us. These are all amazing feelings, and it’s all part of this parenthood gig. We are so fortunate to experience all of it. Let’s not take any of it for granted.