Caps and gowns, photographs and parties, and all the celebrations accompanying graduations…it must be June! Graduation time brings about tears for the parents and joy for the students embarking on the next chapter of their lives. Someone once said that by staying in one place, you’ll only grow upwards. Real growth begins when you move on to new challenges and broaden your circle.
My older son graduates this month, and as we approach his final days at the school he called home for nine years, I vacillate between sadness and joy. When he entered his school, he was a bright-eyed, little blond-haired boy with a few missing teeth. He was excited about his teachers, his new school, and, oddly enough, even his uniform.
As the years progressed, his zest for learning never changed, but the ways he enjoyed learning often did.
Watching my son grow in those early stages amongst his classmates caused me to draw unnecessary comparisons. As time passes, I don’t question our methods, but it still has been a period of growth for us as parents. Now, while I watch my son eagerly awaiting high school, my feelings of sadness to leave the comfort of his school and those surrounding us are met equally with a sense of optimism.
For those who read this and chuckle to themselves, saying, “I saw the tears on class night” or “I saw your tears on graduation day,” you are right. I am going to let them flow. As parents, we have earned the right to feel whatever it is we need to feel. But I too, am ready to move on and grow.
My son was in fifth grade when the pandemic began. Until then, it had been his absolute favorite year. He had a teacher who pushed him to explore and allowed him to live in this year of celebration before they moved up to middle school (Mr. P, you’ll always have a special spot in our hearts!).
The pandemic hit, and my son continued to make things fun, even hosting a virtual Zoom party on the weekends! But the pandemic fast-forwarded my son from a child to a teen. I am savoring our conversations as of late and hearing his perspective about the world as I have written about it in the past.
My optimism about his ascent to high school is partly due to my feelings about moving on. As parents, we’ve done a great job; pat yourselves on the back! These past few years were unprecedented.
But it is also time for us to move on and grow with our kids. With more kids to raise you might wonder, how? Where is the time to do this? I think any change brings about that possibility, no matter how small.
My involvement in my older son’s school ending means I have more time for my younger son. I am exploring how I can be part of his life more from an interest perspective, much like I was with my eldest and basketball. Something we can enjoy doing together. But it also means something for me. I yearn to learn more, write more, and pursue what makes me more well-rounded.