Monday, June 21, 2010

A lesson from graduation

It’s over…high school graduation that is! My son is officially done with his K-12 education…he is an adult…he is off to college.

I made it…high school graduation that is! I raised a respectful, intelligent, and compassionate young man…ready to take on the world.

Retrospect is an amazing thing. Today I realized that I spent most of the graduation season looking back (going through old photos for the graduation poster and photo album) or looking to the future (how will I cope with him away at college…what will our life look like in this next chapter?). In between the past and the future, I spent some time in the present.

I had a barbecue to celebrate my son’s graduation. As my gift to him I vowed to not freak out about the condition of the house, the imperfect backyard, the lack of time to do all the special things I wanted to, and the inevitable chaos surrounding food prep (for the most part I kept my vow…mainly because I asked for help and I graciously received it). Instead I focused on enjoying each moment. I laughed, cried, shared, loved, and observed. I watched my son as he navigated the crowd…making sure each person there was talked to…was made to feel welcome…was appreciated. I participated in all that he is.

Perhaps that is the biggest lesson I can take away from his graduation…I need to enjoy and revel in the “right now”. It isn’t about surviving the thought of “empty nest”. It isn’t about questioning why the years went by so fast…it is about appreciating where we are.

I have spent the last 18 years worrying if I did enough of the “right” things and fretting about what comes next. While I think it goes against our human nature to spend 100% of our time in present moment…I need to consciously choose to engage in life as it unfolds.

I wonder if a post-it note or a string around my finger will help me remember…habits are hard to change. - Cathy