I told myself I’d wait on this one.
Often times column inspirations come from moments in my personal life. This is one such day.
After years of penning pieces at this time of year, more times than not the week of actual graduation, this time is different.
Now, writing this, just 24 hours post Mother’s Day and a week plus prior to graduation ceremonies, I’m in this rare position of “mom of a graduate.”
Oh yes, I recognize there’s lots of us. Some celebrating pre-school, clear up to college, university or grad school. The “rare” as it were is the being in the place of sharing bench space with each of you, as I also await witnessing my son complete this chapter of his life as he graduates high school.
In prior years I’ve often reflected on my own memories, lessons or words of “wisdom” for the graduates. As I look to the blinking cursor the thought which keeps pressing the front of my brain is, how did we get here so fast?
Truth be told it truly feels like just last week or maybe last year, that I sat and watched my oldest of two beam from the field as he flashed me his “faux” diploma from his seat during eighth grade promotion. Tickled by the fact that he had received an empty folder (as did the others) his inner five-year-old showed up for a moment as he found mom in the bleachers and we shared a good chuckle.
My eyes leak as I type that.
Moms, I know you get this. There’s just something special and unique about that bond we share with our babies. Even as they outgrow us (physically speaking) they remain our babies.
While eighth grade promotion seems moments ago, so too does this senior year as a whole. It’s just all gone so fast and as the mentors before me offered fair warning, I somehow still find myself in a space of wonderment.
Preparing for the coming week has required a lot of many. With my son’s father making a trip to town to join us in the celebration, a little party was indeed in order. Searching photos for the perfect invite layout my daughter unearthed the photo of all photos. A sweet little towhead complete with Hawaiian shirt and lei in front of a poster reading “Congratulations Class of 2023.” My son was the towhead and this was his pre-school graduation. Perfect.
Over the past few weeks we’ve spoken a lot about what’s to come. The realness of it all sneaking up on us both a bit. As he prepares for his next chapter, as his mom it’s prompted me to not just pause but reflect a bit more than I’d ever expected.
Recalling the day he first came into the world; he new at life and me, a new mommy – it was all just a bit overwhelming.
Would his slight jaundice go away after baking him in the window? Was my breast milk really enough to keep him full? Where would be the best fit for him when he started pre-school, elementary school and so on? The questions and confusion can go on for more space than print will allow. It’s a simple “if you know you know,” for each and every parent/guardian reading this.
Now however, watching this young man navigate this past year, I find myself at peace. His senior year has been one for the record books. His accomplishments serving him well in his final hour of his formative school years. Maintaining his first job, his extracurricular and his academics – his way.
It’s been a fun ride the past 13 years; hard, exhausting, confusing, but fun.
I’m proud of my son. All the better, I really like him as well. He’s a good egg as one might say. He’s kind, understanding, compassionate, witty and smart.
I share this not to boast or brag, but rather to challenge the parents of other graduates to follow suit.
My reason simple, it’s easy to get caught in all the other “stuff” and lose sight of the parent accomplishment. We’re not intended to always be their buddy or their friend. Our job is much more important than that. We after all, are blessed with the task of stewarding a human; who will have impact on many in the future. Important stuff.
Midway through the school year, I recognized the uniqueness of each of these graduates. Each on their own path, navigating in the way which suits them, with a promising future ahead. Just as we once did and here we are.
Here’s to fond memories, big dreams, hard work and goals realized.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.