Get stories and expert advice on all things related to college and parenting.
Dealing with Extra Anxiety as You Send a Student to College This FallMarybeth Bock, MPH
My middle son will graduate from college on Mother’s Day this year. When he was home a few weeks ago, he actually apologized to me for having his graduation “impose” on my “special day.” In response I told him, in all honesty, that I could not imagine a better way to spend Mother’s Day.
Watching my son graduate will be a joy I cannot fully explain to him. Upon discovering, through his university’s parent Facebook group, that he forgot to have his senior photo taken, I immediately called and urged him to go to the retake session, which he obligingly did. He might not have fully understood why it was so important to me but he wanted to make me happy, which I appreciated.
A friend, who told me she insisted that her son sit for his law school graduation portrait, said, “It’s a huge moment in the timeline of our family and I want it memorialized in a photo. Of course we’ll take pictures when we’re there, but graduation is hectic and stressful. I want to know we have a professional photo of this occasion.” Her feelings echoed mine completely.
When the pictures of my son came in the mail about a month later, I gazed at the image of him in his cap and gown, knowing that the pride and gratitude I felt was a mere warm up for the emotions I'll experience on graduation day.
This will not be the first time I watch one of my sons graduate from college and (hopefully) it won’t be the last. However, I will be no less excited this time around than when my oldest son graduated college five years ago.
I am not the sort to make a big deal about most things; I find that putting too much importance on an event can make it feel anticlimactic. However, graduation falls in the “exception to the rule” category. It’s a momentous achievement worthy of reflection and celebration, a chance to pause and think about the road (with all its trials and triumphs) that led up to this day.
When I watch my son in his robe as he receives his diploma, I will be thinking about and remembering so many things:
Graduation is a big deal because, in addition to representing academic achievement, it signifies the transition to adulthood as well the changing nature of our family. The pomp and circumstance herald a new era, both for our children and for us. Despite the crowds and daunting logistics of the day, I know it will be wonderful.
I have been with my son every step of the way — cheering, encouraging, worrying and, on this day, celebrating. Having my child reach this milestone on Mother’s Day feels completely right and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
In fact, it’s the best Mother’s Day gift I can think of.