Here we are again—graduation time. Some of you have kids graduating from high school or college, and some from pre-school. This can be a time of joy, sadness, anticipation, regret, satisfaction, relief and oh, about a hundred other adjectives. And you’re not the only one with emotions flying. Your children are feeling all those feelings as well, as they enter into a new phase of life. And you, and yes, me, as the parents, are one-part thrilled, one-part terrified, and one-part melancholy to see them move on.
This summer I have all five of my chickadees back in the house with me. In all likelihood, this won’t happen again for another 10 years, so I am going to relish every single moment of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Mostly, though, I am feeling beyond blessed and eternally grateful that I get to spend time with five of my favorite people. In fact, as I write, the emotions are welling up, and writing is becoming more difficult.
So, I hope you will indulge me a bit. Instead of rehashing all the stuff everybody else is writing about on their blog concerning graduations, I am going to share what is happening here at the HofEnway House (That’s Hoefle and Hemenway combined).
Hannah, my oldest, will return in the Fall to her third year at NAU. Come January, she will fly to Australia, where she will complete her Junior Year. I have no idea whether she will ever leave Australia once she gets there. She has dreamed of Australia since she was 10. Ten years later, she is on her way. I have friends who lost their daughter to the down-under, so I am preparing myself for the possible phone call that says she found a “darling flat” and is staying for a few years to explore. Sigh. I have always wanted to visit the down-under.
MY FEELINGS: Confident and, if the truth be told, proud. Yes, I know. I used the P word, but heck, I haven’t used it since she was two, so I think I get a pass on this one.
Colin is graduating from High School. He is an amazing young man. He is my thoroughbred. My part in his life has always been to hold the bit, just right, so he can chew up big portions of his life without falling flat on his nose and tumbling hard into a muddy mess. He was accepted to his number one school, but has decided to defer for a year. In his words—“He has some ‘x-plorin’ to do before he settles back down into school.” Where does he plan on doing this “x-plorin”? Why Chile, of course. Yes, Chile, South America. Another long, deep sigh, and then I remember that I have been to Chile, and I LOVE it.
MY FEELINGS: A mix of confidence, terror, and “I can’t wait to hear the stories this kid is gonna tell” kinda feeling.
Zoe will be a senior. I thought she was my safe bet. I should have known better. She has recently informed us that she would like to spend five weeks in Ecuador, working at an Orphanage and Pre-School. This is a story in and of itself; if anyone is interested, let me know in your comments, and I will tell you all about it. I can’t really believe it myself, but I should. My daughter is consistent in her love of children, the disenfranchised, and South America. As soon as she arrives home from Ecuador, assuming she even comes home, we head to California for a seven-day whirlwind of college visits. Zoe, as many of you know, decided on Cal Poly when she was seven. She hasn’t changed her mind in 10 years. We did encourage her to look at a few other colleges in the area, and she graciously indulged us.
MY FEELINGS: Meloncholy. Excitement. Restless. Most of all, though—AWE.
Kiera will be a Junior. Wanna guess where she is going? Spain. True Story. She will be spending six months abroad, just like her older siblings did their junior year only THIS kid informs me from the get-go that if she has a “rockin” host family, she is staying the year. She is “helping” me, her mother, get used to the idea by bringing it up every 20 minutes. Gotta love her. Good news: new continent, new place to visit over December break.
MY FEELINGS: Anxious. Scared. Over-Protective and Over-Joyed.
Brady, my youngest is returning from a year at boarding school in PA. If you have been to one of my classes, then you know that school comes easy to Brady. Too easy, I am afraid, and he hasn’t quite mustered up the discipline to put his brains to work FOR him. They oftentimes work AGAINST him. But he is making progress. He is sorely disappointed that he will not be returning next year, but he has also been incredibly understanding, gracious and mature. The truth is, his maturity level, when it comes to this kind of thing, is way beyond mine. I kid you not.
MY FEELINGS: Nervous. Anticipation. Excitement.
The minute our children arrive, they are in the process of leaving. I knew this. I have been preparing myself for this day—these days—since they were infants. I wanted to enjoy the journey and this moment of departure. I did not want to be the parent gnashing her teeth, crying about how I would miss them, and wondering what I would do with my life as they began theirs. And let me tell you something—the training came in handy, because the truth is, I can find myself in a puddle crying just THINKING about all of them graduated and gone. But then I remember, I was there—at the beginning; I was there—and I have the stories to prove it.
So enjoy! Graduation from anything is a beautiful thing.