It starts with kindergarten.
All the graduation ceremonies. Seems like yesterday I was carting my son off to kindergarten with our dog in tow. I remember the fear in his face when I left him alone for that first “half-day” of school. I also remember the ceremony at year’s close and the beaming smile splashed across his face while mouthing the words–“I did it, Mom!” And he did. He was so proud that day that he mastered those read- and- write skills and was now able to enter “real” school–first grade.
A milestone crossed.
Flash forward 16 years. High School graduation. This time both elementary and middle school graduation ceremonies (not to mention that initial kindergarten one) were nothing more than childhood memories that only Mom recalled and which also embarrassed said son to no end when she did. This time the graduation ceremony ended with a real diploma in hand replete with valedictorians and salutatorians espousing warm fuzzy memories of freshman jitters that concluded with congratulatory clarion calls fit for kings marching off to battle. This time said son marched off that graduation ceremony stage with summa cum laude cord draped round his neck.
A milestone crossed. And a milestone yet looming overhead for Mom, me.
I believe the term is called empty-nest syndrome.
I had heard about it. I had read about it. I had even counseled pals of mine trapped in the throes of it. But I never really “got it” until that day which marked perhaps the happiest day of his life for my son, but which also marked a bittersweet one for me. I was ecstatic that I had raised a confident, intelligent, kind, ambitious child who was now ready to spread his wings and fly. I was proud that he achieved all that he did. I was humbled that he took the time to thank and credit me for my care, faith, trust, and belief in him. I was honored that he hugged me first and presented his diploma for me to hold and review.
But I was also sad as I knew that that little boy—my little boy—was gone. Forever. He had his path and way to forge now and he planned to do it and knowing him he would do it 24/7/365 with a style all his own and one I could never lay claim to. I was sad that come fall he would no longer be around for me to nag to clean his room, or feed the pets, or do his homework. Worse, I was sad that he would no longer be around to share the events of his day, the sorrows and the joys, and all he had accomplished and learned.
So as I said, a new milestone looms ahead.
One I have yet encountered and have no reference upon how to approach let alone tread. Perhaps, that road is one of gratitude and trust. Gratitude that I was blessed to nurture and guide him during his formative years. Perhaps that road is one of trust—trust that the Universe will keep him safe and guide him to share his unique talents and gifts with others. I hope so. I believe so.
Such are the Graduation Blues. But what a shade of blue. More like periwinkle if you will for the taste is not bitter; a tad sour perhaps but nonetheless sweet—the taste of blueberries over vanilla ice cream. So I salute all the moms (and dads) whose kid have graduated with best wishes and a scoop of blueberry vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Read more posts by Alison Blasko, a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.
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