Yesterday I watched my son (pictured on the right) receive his college diploma. All graduations are special but this one was extra special as it was a moment of completion, perhaps my graduation also, as now all three of my children have finished their college education and my mission of raising my three is fully complete.
As the noted speaker was giving her commencement speech, my mind wandered reflecting on my twenty-eight year journey raising my one daughter and two sons. I fell madly in love with my newborns, adored my toddlers, was delighted with my young children, annoyed with my middle schoolers, aggravated with my high schoolers, and today respect and love my adult children.
As infants, my children were completely dependent on me to feed them, clothe them and love them. I was in love with these angels and was full of joy with each accomplishment when they rolled over, sat up, crawled, cut their first tooth, walked, and spoke their first words. My heart was filled when my babies reached their little dimpled arms to me wanting to be held and snuggled to fall asleep in my arms.
The first days of kindergarten came too quickly for each of them. I was excited for their milestone, but as I watched them board the school bus and see it pull away, they would look out the window and wave. I smiled back waving holding back my tears. And when each one arrived home from school they would jump off the bus and run into the house excited to tell me everything that happened that morning in their classroom.
I attended my children’s first school concert proudly watching them and snapping endless pictures. The next few years my children were away from home with their first sleepover with a friend and eagerly picked up in the morning. My children grew and were learning to be independent but even still were willing to curl up in my lap before bedtime. As I saw each one sleep, I could still see the baby in each of them.
Then came the first day of middle school, and I started to feel the sting as the apron string was being snipped. This time they got on the bus and still looked out the window, but only smiled discreetly and for sure wasn’t going to wave. The school day was over but not coming home on the bus due to after school activities and now needed various pick up times to be set. What hadn’t changed was that I still proudly watched my children participate in multiple sports and school choir events. At this point each was spending more time with friends and sleepovers turned into hanging out all day with their friends. Now I was given a quick kiss and hug as long as it was in the privacy of home and no one was watching.
The next phase was the toughest as the apron string was close to being completely cut. On the first day of high school my children were riding the bus and now not even looking my way to acknowledge me. They were coming home late from after school sports and activities but didn’t need a ride because they would find their own means. They now had their first job and activities were now scheduled around work and school. They earned their first driver’s license and now no longer needed me for transportation. I was no longer top priority nor the most important person to them on their list and they started having relationships with others, dates and proms.
They began looking at colleges, were excited for the future and gave minimal information. But it remained strong that I still proudly watched my teenagers play in their sports and sing in the school choir. And at this point, if it was necessary, they gave me a kiss.
There was a mix of sadness and excitement dropping my children off at college and an emptiness coming home to their empty bedrooms. There were no more bus rides, no after school activities, however, I did start to hear a little bit more from them as they adjusted being on their own. It was wonderful to see how their learned life skills helped them adjust to being independent. They met new friends and had new experiences. Now they kissed and hugged when we saw each other again and when going back to school.
Yesterday I cried and was extremely proud to see how my son has transformed into a handsome man shaking hands and accepting his degree. I had to wait until the formalities were done and the ceremony was complete before I could congratulate him. When we saw each other in a crowd of people, he reached down to me and gave me a hug and a kiss.
My mission is complete with my three adult children. I am looking forward to the next stages for my three adult children as they have begun their lives on their own and praying that it will be years of joy for them.
What memorable times do you have of raising your children or someone that you have mentored? Now is the time to open up your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of the memorable times you have had with them.