How To Cope With Your Child’s High School Graduation!
Tis the season for graduation. As a mother of three teenagers, I’ve seen my share of milestones come and go. High school graduation seems to be some sort of emotional catalyst for most of us parents. Even though we are proud of our children and their accomplishments, it feels somewhat like they are being yanked away from us. I suppose that while the children are transitioning into young adulthood, we are transitioning into holy-cow-when-did-I-get-old-enough-to-have-adult-children-and-oh-no-my-baby-won’t-need-me-anymore-hood!
This is my second year in a row to watch a child of mine walk across the floor in a cap and gown to receive a high school diploma. I don’t want to say that it gets any easier, but you do learn different ways to cope with your emotions.
Coping Method #1. Denial, Denial, Denial.
Honestly, it’s hard to deny that your child is growing up while you are running the gamut of Senior activities and graduation preparations that come with this time of their high school career. However, I find that I am much less likely to randomly burst into tears if I pretend that all of these activities don’t lead up to an event that will catapult my baby forward into a life much less filled with…well, me. If you want to pretend that you are planning a graduation party for someone else’s child, I won’t judge. And those tear stains on the graduation invitations…they were never there.
Coping Method #2. Distraction and Diversion
During times of emotional upheaval, I count myself lucky to have more than one child to focus on! My youngest had a musical on the same night as Senior Awards. We managed to make it to both (see her performance HERE), but I was still riding high on musical euphoria and even knowing that it would be some of the last recognition my youngest son would get at the high school couldn’t bring me down.
Busying yourself with lists and tasks related to the graduation party is a guaranteed way to distract yourself. There is probably enough work there to take up the better part of a week!
You can also try developing a mantra. Last year I said, “I have to turn around and do this all over again next year.” (That was not a helpful mantra.) This year I said, “If I make it through this, I don’t have to do it again for five more years.”
Coping Method #3. Cry It All Out.
I’m not going to lie and say I stayed all calm and composed. There was more than one day that my eyes filled with tears and I had the urge drag out every last baby picture we own! On the last day of school, I had myself a good cry in the shower and another one in the car on my way to pick up my daughter.
My eyes definitely had tears on Graduation Day, but those were more of pride than of sadness. It helped that so many of the speakers had funny and uplifting things to say and also, that I had already been through all this just a year earlier.
(Besides, I already know that when I’ll really have a major melt down is in the fall when I leave him at college.)
Whether we deny, distract, cry, or use some other coping mechanism, our babies are going to move on with their lives. Even though it’s sad, it’s also wonderful. So congratulations to all of the graduates of 2014 and lots of hugs to the mommies and daddies who have to let them grow up.