Friday, June 10, 2016

Graduation Eve

On this night before graduation I've been thinking about the last few years of school.  So many things changed.  Our little boy is almost 18.  He was shy early in grammar school, but then in middle school his personality thrived.  He is very analytical, and tries to solve problems rather than avoid them.  His dry sense of humor often makes others uncomfortable, and it was learned from his father.  His laugh, infectious.

Our high school experience with children was different than our own.   Our oldest lost friends when a coach made a decision to move him to the Varsity football team.  Our youngest was the one that interacted better with the coaches than his own teammates. We are the parents that knew where our kids were at 10:00 when the news asked "Parents, do you know where your children are?"

Over the last eight years I've noticed that kids try too hard to grow up fast.  They want to be an adult, instead of enjoying the little things.  Trust me, there is plenty of time to worry about work and growing up.  So many want to party...and for what?  A little high?  A hangover?  To be cool?  

I miss the days where their only mode of transportation was their bike or their own legs.  We didn't worry (much) about how far they could get.  

We are the parents that asked questions.  Where are you going?  Who is going to be there? What did you end up doing?  If there is alcohol, you will leave, right?  Call me when you get there.

Does that mean we've sheltered our kids?  Some might thing so.  If it means our kids were safe, anyone that questions how we raised our kids can delete me right now.  

When my husband I were growing up we went to plenty of our own parties...I even hosted a few.  He was drunk at his own graduation.  I don't recommend this.  He doesn't even remember driving his best friends car...he thought he was driving a suburban.  It was a 68 Camaro.  He was clearly the best one to be driving.

If a kid did that now and got caught, their life would be severely impacted.  The way social media spins, you never which one of your bosses, or college professors, or coaches will see that tweet or Instagram pic of you driving 90 on the expressway with a beer in your hand.

A close friend of our oldest posted this week about being the best person he can be.  How three years ago he was all about getting girls (beer in hand) and now it's about being the best version of himself he can be.  Three years taught him patience and discipline.  Pretty profound for a 22 year old.

Our kids made it through high school without detentions, without expulsions, without fights (well, almost).  There was no drama except for those that created it on their own end and spread rumors that still make us laugh.  They never bullied and were never bullied themselves.  They got to school early, turned their work in on time and helped coaches when asked (and often before a coach even knew he needed help).  Does it make them better than anyone else?  No.  They just kept themselves out of those situations.  And if something did happen, they solved it themselves.

I believe we raised healthy, strong, smart boys that make decisions based on facts.  On this eve before graduation, I know I'll cry tomorrow.  I'll cry when I see him walk in the gym.  I'll cry when I see his friends too. And I'll cry when I see all those parents that have become friends over the last xxx number of years.  We are in this together.

When he gets that diploma, I'll know we did what we could. We were there when he needed us, and even when he thought he didn't.  And we'll be there every next time he's looking over his shoulder and needs encouragement.

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