Yassss! You’ve got yourself a graduate momma; congratulations! I’m virtually throwing confetti and doing a happy dance on your behalf. I know things have probably been busy for months, and you’ve been giving it your all, holding your kiddo down and getting them across that stage – college applications, grades, essays, finals, prom, and Lord help you if sports are involved. I understand all the things. But, if you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to breathe it all in. Graduation is a big deal, and sometimes us mommas don’t remember to enjoy the moment because we get so lost in creating the moment. So, slow down, step away and breathe, cry, smile, laugh, have some mommy juice, pray, whatever it takes to solidify this moment of joy in your heart.
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I will be honest; it took months for me to slow down and have my moment. After graduation, we went right into summer traveling, and then the next thing I knew, we were moving my son into his dorm for summer school/football. It wasn’t until after he was gone that a flood of emotions hit me that went all the way back to senior night, his very last high school football game, the struggle over virtual school, and so much more. I remember thinking, “Gosh, we made it!”
There were buckets of tears being cried, partly because I missed my man child and because I was so freakin’ proud of him and proud of myself for helping him get there. I wish someone would have pulled me to the side and told me to slow down for that. So, let me be that person for you just in case you need it – Allow yourself that moment.
Here are a few other things I wish I’d known to help make the transition after graduation:
1. While your teen is excited about graduation, young adulthood and all the adventure ahead, they are just as much a bucket of nerves as you. Check in with them occasionally, even if it looks like they don’t have a care in the world. I think this would be helpful for you too.
2. Brace yourself for the mistakes your graduate will make. Honey, let me tell you, there will be at least one shocker. That’s what this time is for, though. Resist the urge to feel like you’ve failed as a parent when things go wrong.
3. Give them space to grow. As moms, we are wired to go immediately into fix-it mode when needed. This new season of life for them is designated for them to learn. A part of that learning process is them finding their own solutions. I found this has been easier said than done, and it’s a learning process for us too.
4. They will want to spend a ton of time with close friends over the summer, don’t feel bad. Schedule some one-on-one time and enjoy every second of it.
5. Random outbursts of tears are normal. Head over to Costco and stock up on tissue. Cry it out as much as you need.
6. Check in with the younger sibling(s). Big brother or sister has been getting all the attention, and on top of that, they are adjusting to all the new things ahead. My daughter needed some extra snuggles when she realized her brother was leaving. I also scheduled a few mommy/daughter dates so she wouldn’t feel left out. It also helps if you can find creative ways to involve them in the celebrating.
I wish I could say that you’re on the road to a perfect transition even with all the planning and preparation you’ve been doing. Nine times out of ten, there will still be some bumps. Just go with the flow. Ultimately this is a journey that you should for sure enjoy. Give yourself lots of grace, and that graduate lots of love.