They can’t believe they are viewing their child, grown, and crossing the stage to receive that diploma. For some families, it hasn’t been an easy relationship and today they are choosing to celebrate the milestone.
Parents shared how much they love having family together, creating more happy memories. They miss those who have died and aren’t in the room. Some feel their discomfort of being divorced or widowed. A range of feelings and thoughts quickly visit parents during graduation ceremonies and parties.
Among the hugs, gift giving, and pass the salad, parents are wondering, NOW WHAT? How often will I hear from my kids and who will I become now that my children need me less. Honestly and embarrassingly they share, I STILL NEED THEM.
I should get over it and make a better life for myself. I should be grateful my kid graduated and are more independent. I should have been more fun and not just have been the disciplinarian or worrier. I should have let them have more sleepovers. The SHOULD list goes on and on.
What I have noticed is we all spend time listing lists of shoulds and coulds. Those lists occupy our mind, keep us busy so to speak, and also help us reflect.
When I asked the parents, WHAT WILL YOU MISS, the feeling in the room changed. When I asked, WHAT WON’T YOU MISS, laughter arrived. When I asked, WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT YOURSELF AS A PARENT, few hands rose to share. It took a bit more time to dig in and find what values and meaning they feel they add to their child’s life.
Complementing ourselves gets buried because we judge it as bragging. BRAG ON. It was easier for parents to chat about the loneliness they feared and some anxiety about what their relationship with their kids would be like NOW. What’s the new role for the grads and the parents?
CONGRATULATIONS PARENTS. You have been the teacher and the student on this journey towards graduation with your children. LOVE, oh what it asks us to be and do!
Take good care,
Natalie Caine, M.A. firstname.lastname@example.org | 10061 Riverside Dr., Suite 1002 Toluca Lake, CA 91602 | 800-446-3310