Along with spring comes graduation season. Every year we launch our young people into their next phase of life, as we will with my daughter when we celebrate her college graduation on Saturday.
It’s easy in these events to focus on what is ending. After all, no new start in life comes without an ending of some sort, where you say goodbye to the way you used to live and move on into the next phase. As parents, we cry because our little ones have grown up. But, I think focusing on endings is missing the point.
You see, this is part of what makes parenting both delightful and crazy-making. You bring this little person into the world, only to find out quite quickly that they are not your creation – your image – but in fact, their own. From very early days, they assert their own will, their own wishes, and their own personality, sometimes quite loudly and vociferously. But, in the end, that’s the way it’s meant to be, because as parents we aren’t raising perpetual children, we are raising adults, and hopefully they will be independent, self-assured and happy.
From the very beginning, parenting is a series of small endings and beginnings, as our kids grow and change to become the independent adults that they need to be. Does that always mean it’s easy? Absolutely not. It’s not always fun, either, but on a day like Saturday, no one will be a prouder parent than me to stand there watching my child cross the stage with her hard-earned degree and be amazed at what a lovely woman she has become.
And, she’s earned it. That’s not to say that we haven’t helped her, but this young woman has navigated the paths of financial aid, student loans, and figuring out how to handle her money all on her own. She’s rented her own apartments and found her own jobs. She’s been truly self-sufficient. I’m sure there were times when it was difficult, but she has persevered and this accomplishment is truly her own.
So, while I can’t take credit for this accomplishment, I’ll be delighted to be there to help her celebrate it, and see her into the next phase of life. I can’t wait to see what she does next because I know it will be fabulous.
You go, girl. I really mean it.