By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The Graduate And The Grind
Mommy Musings 7-19-23

We’re entering a new season as a family and I have to say, I’m here for it.

It’s been just a bit over six weeks since my oldest earned his high school diploma and we prepared for ... what’s next.

Contrary to what many of you might be thinking, we are not spending our summer purging his bedroom, collecting boxes or shopping for dorm room bedding and knick knacks.

Being completely honest, much to my shock and yes, initial disappointment, in the Fall of 2022 my son shared with me his desire to take a year off before heading off to college. Suddenly I found myself in completely uncharted territory. We had morphed from a conversation of touring campuses, to “taking a break?” This was not my finest “mommy moment,” as I honestly had no idea how to process my brilliant son was feeling a need to take a break.

In time, I came to peace with it, apologized to my son for my initial reaction and took some time reassuring myself (not him) on how this might actually be the best thing. As a family we’ve been blessed to be surrounded by some young adults that did not go the traditional path of college in four years and off to find a job. Actually, we’ve known quite a few to do that and come away still searching for their what next as things don’t always unfold as one might hope.

My son’s rationale was both simple and honest, the past four years of his academic career had exhausted him. From the challenges of COVID, a parent battling cancer and regular teen trials, he felt he just needed a minute to breathe. He also shared he planned to work full time during this time and save some money.

We’re realists as a family and while I would love to be that parent who can send their child off for a college education with complete financial freedom, that’s just not us. My son recognized saving some money would make his college experience all the better.

I also recognized that when I was in college there were those handful of kids whose parents had spent thousands on their first two years only for them to wake up and decide, “this isn’t for me.” So, kudos to my kid for preventing a burn out which would have come at a hefty price tag.

Now six weeks into this season, he’s secured full time work and is settling in to adult life.

Coming from a mom who really struggled his senior year, my baby after all was officially growing up and well, I missed my little guy. But ya know what, we are having a good time in this chapter. Getting to know my son, the young man, is really quite gratifying. We spend so much time as parents sharing life lessons, role modeling and teaching our little ones, yet we have no idea how this is all going to turn out. It’s fun sharing this chapter with him as he finds his way in the real world, working, budgeting and planning.

And yes, just as I suspected he’s already talking about online classes in the Spring semester to get a jump on some General Ed classes. Perfect.

So, this one is for the families like us. The ones who aren’t planning road trips to campuses or scouring the market place for apartment furniture. No, we’re getting connected as a family, learning some new lessons, creating some post grad memories and talking about what’s to come.

What I know for sure is, this life isn’t a one size fits all journey. Just as we all wear a different size shoe, gravitate to a different style of dress or listen to different types of music, we must choose the path we feel suits us best.

I’m excited to see what’s next for my boy. I’m grateful for his patience with his mom and her sometimes too quick to respond demeanor. I’m proud of his ability to assess what feels like the right thing for him, even if it is against the grain of what the masses are doing.

Here’s to celebrating our children for not just knowing who they are, but being brave enough to step into the next chapter and own it like a rock star.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.