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


Melinda said...

I am not so sure that the habit needs to change, as much as it needs to be acknowledged and made peace you. You are who you are and react the way you do. That is OK. For me, anyway, it has been hardest to make peace with who I am.

I, too, just made my way through graduation season. It is poignant and it should be. It is an appropriate time to review and take stock. It is a reasonable time to mourn the chapter now closed and celebrate the chapter that is next.

Your son may not be a child any more, but you will always be his mom. Let me assure you, based on my own experience with older sons, the relationship that unfolds with our adult 'kids' is wonderful. You are going to be thrilled and delighted by it.


Eve's Daughters said...

Thanks Melinda...wise comments! I so much enjoyed being "present" and so much enjoyed looking back! I suppose the future is all about perspective...and a positive one! I am so proud of my son and all that he has become. I wondered if I would make it...if we would make it...and we did! Thanks for reading and commenting...cathy

Kathy said...

I am also thinking about how my life is better since my daughter has become an adult. I get to enjoy her perspectives on life and see that she carries with her some of the things I taught her. I hurt when she struggles and wish I could kiss it and make it well, but I couldn't do that before. I give something different to her and I get something wonderful back -- most of the time :.)