I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't an easy day. In fact, I would rank June 8, 2018 as one of the hardest days of my life. To be completely truthful, I woke up that morning at 6:36 and despite the promise to myself that I would keep a stiff upper lip, I was crying by 6:38. I hadn't even gotten out of bed. The first words out of Andy's mouth that morning were how proud he was of me, and I broke down. I am so overwhelmingly proud of how much Lance has accomplished (he's graduating Magna Cum Laude for starters), and so, so, SO proud of the young man he is. The speech his Robotics teammate gave about him at the awards banquet last week further confirmed; Lance is first-and-foremost a good-hearted, kind FRIEND to everyone who knows him. And that, I feel, is the reason this is so hard. I don't want to stop raising him. Being a mom to him, Trenton, Ethan & Ferris is practically my whole world. I love every day of it, and I love it just the way it is. I know how to parent a teenager. I know how to parent a finicky, emotional 10-year old. I know how to parent a toddler. I don't know how to parent a college kid. I don't know how to be supportive from afar without being overbearing. I don't know how to show him I love him everyday when I don't get to hug him when he walks through the door or text him "Have a good day," in the morning before he gets on the bus (followed of course, by a half dozen questions about deadlines, work schedules, fees, homework, tests - you get the picture). I don't know how badly I'm going to miss him. I can only assume it's going to be immensely.
I know I've only gotten through the graduation ceremony at this point. We still have the party, packing, and (gulp) moving day to get through. So I'm in no position to already be offering advice. But I'm going to do it anyway, because I might get overwhelmed with the events yet to come, and forget what really struck me the day after he was handed his diploma and threw his cap in the air. Here it is: stop telling moms to not be sad. I can't even tell you how much I appreciate all of the supportive words I have gotten from so many loving people. And all of the support has helped tremendously. But, when it's my turn to offer another mom comfort, I'll tell her, "Be sad. You've earned it." I'll tell her it's OK to mourn. Yes, they're still our children when they're away at college or off at the school of life, but it's OK to mourn the loss of their childhood. It IS ending. There's no way to change that (if you don't believe me, ask Google. I certainly did. Time travel: still not possible.) We have to learn to parent all over again. I have no idea how that's going to look for me, so for now, I'm just going to be sad that I'm being laid off from the best job I've ever had. Or, at least being re-assigned to a new role that I don't know how to do yet.
I know the sadness won't last. I know the excitement of seeing all he's going to experience and accomplish will wash away my heartache. I know our relationship will evolve into the best version it will ever be. I know all that because thankfully I have amazing people who've gone through it reassuring me at every turn. I am indebted to you for your support. I read and re-read your words almost every day. You've lived it, you know. And, I trust you. I know that I'll get "there," too. But today, I'm just going to be sad. I've earned it. -Meg
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you what went wrong (circling back to the title of this blog that brought you here in the first place)! And it brings me to my second piece of advice (I'm getting really cocky now, aren't I?!), and that is: CHECK YOUR CAMERA EQUIPMENT before you leave the house Graduation Day morning! Exactly 19 minutes before the soon-to-be graduates were set to walk in the door, I realized I had left my memory card in my laptop at home! My heart dropped into my stomach so hard, I swear it almost popped. Thank God I'm married to the most supportive human being on the planet, and he was halfway down the bleachers before I even got the panicked sentence out of my mouth. He was back -- memory card in hand -- with 7 minutes to spare. Crisis averted.
So, there you have it. A little longer (and a lot more honest) blog post than I anticipated, but I hope both pieces of advice serve future moms-(and dads)-of-high-school-graduates well. -Meg