If you’re like me, you’ve never paid much attention to “graduation season hoopla” until you realized this is the year that will adorn your child’s tassel on their high school graduation cap.
Now that you’ve accepted the reality that you’re a parent of a high school senior, you’re probably wandering around in a complex emotional state that ranges from pride to panic, all the while utterly perplexed by how fast the time has gone.
You’re not alone, and you’re not crazy. But in case you’re not convinced, here’s a checklist of common symptoms that represent every parent’s journey through the temporary insanity during this season of life.
1. You’ve turned into mom-parazzi — obsessed with taking photos and videos of them throughout senior year because you’re haunted by the fact that you haven’t actually completed a photo album since their first year of life.
2. There’s a box of graduation announcements sitting on the dining room table, but You. Can’t. Even. Go. There.
3. You suddenly feel guilty for EVER missing one of their sporting events and have vowed to attend EVERY SINGLE game this spring — even the “away” games. (Even very far away games.)
4. You stare at the atrocity of their bedroom, deeply concerned for their lack of laundry competence but secretly thrilled that they’ll soon have to face this challenge on their own.
5. You start panicking and make a list of essential life skills you still need to teach them.
6. You take some stealth measurements of their bedroom and wonder how long you need to wait after they leave before it’s OK to turn it into a home gym.
7. You realize you can’t afford to buy home gym equipment (or even a gym membership) because you’ve recently discovered the brutal reality of what it’s actually going to cost to send your kid to college.
8. You contemplate setting things on fire while trying to navigate the online FAFSA process (AKA the 8thcircle of hell).
9. You’re fanatically savoring their “lasts” — their last Easter at home, last prom, last practice, last game, last band concert, and their last awards banquet.
10. There’s not a single day in May that you don’t have SOMETHING scheduled that relates to their graduation.
11. You find yourself awkwardly inserting random tidbits of “life advice for the future” into every conversation with them.
12. Your senior brings home a form about “cap & gown” fitting and it totally takes your breath away.
13. You’ve become that person who wistfully advises parents of young children to enjoy every moment because it goes by so very, very fast.
And amid the tears, you begin to embrace the process of truly letting them go. After all – graduation is not just about a season that’s ending; it’s about a new season that’s just beginning.
So, dear parent – though it may feel like high school graduation signals the final curtain call of parenthood, I promise you that it’s not over yet. In truth, your influence is going to become even more important during these upcoming years.
Once they walk across the stage and get their diploma, they’ll soon be making an enthusiastic beeline out the door to face life in the real world. And once they encounter a few challenges of young adulthood, they’ll seek your advice instead of snarling at it.
So grab your camera and extra Kleenex start planning for all of the new ways to stay connected after their high school years come to a close.
And keep reminding yourself that for everyone, the best is yet to come.
— Written by Kami Gilmour for Lifetree.com, which offers articles, videos, and podcasts on parenting, marriage, and daily faith.