How I Really Feel About My Oldest Child Graduating

This past summer, I shared my emotions about enrolling my oldest in his Senior year of high school. Now it’s spring, and his graduation is right around the corner. To use a phrase my 18 year old uses often, I’m not sure how I feel about that!

I’m not sure because I find myself going through an array of emotions every 10 minutes. I’m not sure how I feel because sometimes I’m sad he’s growing up too quickly. Then a moment later, I’m proud he’s reached this milestone. A minute after that, I’m worried that I haven’t prepared him for being “out of the house.” Then I switch gears and am excited for all the new things a college experience brings. And just when I think I’ve run through all the emotions, I’m scared for a multitude of reasons.

I’ve found myself sitting through a lot of his lasts already this year. I have several more to go that will, no doubt, cause me to jump on that merry-go-round of feelings over and over again. 

I see his friends and classmates, whom I’ve watched grow up alongside my son, and I feel some of those same emotions towards them. I have mental flashbacks to when they were all in elementary and middle school together. All the class parties. All the music concerts and games. All the school dances and holiday parties. All the church retreats and camps. And I realize, I should be feeling all those merry-go-round emotions!

Life is full of various emotions that we can prepare for and ones that hit us right between the eyes. Graduation isn’t just about grades or what went on during those four years of high school. It’s about what has happened to that child from their first day of kindergarten through their last day in 12th grade. No wonder this is such a celebrated milestone!

This celebration is about every teacher, coach, principal, friend, family member and neighbor my child has had in his life. It’s not just one moment in time we are celebrating. It’s all of them.

All the people and all the activities my son has been involved in has shaped him into the young man he is today. As a mom, I have felt solely responsible for his behavior for many years. But having him in his senior year as made me realize, I’m just a fraction of his personality. There have been far more influences, good and bad, than myself that have shaped my son into who he is today. 

So for me, my oldest’s graduation isn’t just about my emotions towards watching him walk across the stage in his cap and gown. It’s not just about remembering his first day of school and wondering “where has the time gone?” It’s not about crying my eyes out because I can’t get the time back. It’s bigger than me and my merry-go-round of emotions.

It’s about recognizing all those people and moments in his life that have helped him get to that stage. It’s about knowing that there will be teachers, friends, mentors in his future that will help get him through things when I can’t be there. 

And for that, I am sure how I feel about that….



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