These are the weeks of planning and attending high school and college commencements. I remember using red bandanas stuffed in my purse rather than Kleenex. I needed a sure thing. No messy, embarrassing nose drips for me. Well, I can’t say that I wasn’t a mess, but I can say it was a good mess. I loved every moment during that weekend of her high school and college graduation.
College graduation was last May, three thousand miles from home. I still can well with tears. We all had so much fun gathering around my daughter and her friends. Dancing, eating, singing, crying, laughing, and clicking the cameras. Flowers and cakes, gifts and notes and one last stroll across the green, flowering, brick buildings of the east coast campus.
I planned a secret wish list for her during the dinner at her favorite college restaurant.
Everyone had a chance to write what they wish for her and roll it, tie it in a ribbon, and toss it in the glass goblet on the table.
Some were funny…hope you learn cleaning skills and some were wishes for dreaming and living one dream at a time.
As empty nesters, during one of my gatherings, we talked about our dreams which started to unwrap after the impact of them leaving.
I think it was a good idea to talk and write about those dreams.
Here are a few of the dreams parents shared. I pass them to you while you are in the midst of excitement and messy bandanas:
- Join a book club
- Travel once a year for more than a week away
- Go back to college
- Entertain with adults after cooking and wine classes
- Learn to fly fish
- Belly dance and perform
- Spend time alone with a camera and nature
- Get fit and eat well
- Join the arts
- Take a neighborhood class, so I don’t have to spend time in the car
- Spend time with my nieces and nephews
- Nap outside in a hammock with a sexy novel
- Give myself time to discover what is next
- Be a dog walker
Well, the list continues to grow, as does the support. We just have more fun talking and reaching together. Change takes time and patience. I remember one mother called me chocked up and didn’t call again for a private consultation until, as she said and I think we can all relate, “ I am sick of hearing myself worry and feel left out of life. He is making new paths and I am still hiding at home. I am stuck.” I asked her if I could share that and I thanked her for being so vulnerable and brave. Change seems to be easier when we have had some practice in having to change.
Dream lists are fun if you keep the critic and pusher off the paper. “Well, you will never do that. So, go do it. Stop complaining and go.”
There is a reason for the empty space. It is neither punishment nor weakness. It is suppose to be open and unfilled. You have been filled for seventeen years.
I know it is trite to say to enjoy every moment of commencement, but we need the reminder to have fun. Don’t be the care-taker during these milestones. It is a time for you to be proud and nostalgic. You laid the foundation so they can step on up and make choices. So kick up your heels and do the happy parent dance.
Congratulations to you all!
Hope to hear from you.