Four years ago our daughter Jessica gave us one of those 'proud parent' moments. There have been more since, but this was a big one.
Clad in her robe and hood, she marched across a stage at Guelph University and received her degree... the first on my side of the family to achieve such an accomplishment. For some time later I'm sure I bored many with yet another 'my kid' story.
Well, recently we got to relive that experience as our son Garret followed in his big sister's foot steps... and I scored my second diploma!
I say "I," because they are mine! I laid claim to them when the kids were young.
Whenever they were granted a privilege, received something special, I would remind them of what they owed me... a university degree.
Both promised I'd get it, and they've kept their word.
Now, on our living room wall, hang two handsomely-framed university degrees! Should you ever visit, odds are pretty good I'll proudly point them out.
All parents, I like to believe, want their kids to far exceed whatever they have accomplished in life... I have little doubt that our two will do just that.
The other day, as I stood admiring my two diplomas, my mind wandered back. Back to the little tow-headed girl who was crazy about horses and the boy band, New Kids on the Block. And the small red-headed dude who loved his video games and whose sole goal in life was to be an NHL goaltender... preferably for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I miss them.
If only, I thought, I could make a deal with the gods, and turn back the hands of time... I'd swap those prized degrees in a second.
Unfortunately, for all parents, time marches but in one direction... double time.
Graduation! What a moment of pride but there is something else there too, a nostalgia for the time when he was just a little tot who needed our guidance and wanted to hold our hand when new things were upon him. I have to say, mixed in with this great joy that he'd made it through (and so had we) was a little regret that it had all gone by so quickly. The four years he was at Guelph University were a blur. (That's likely as much a factor of the tears that were about to spill as the time that flew by.)
After getting his first year degree in partying 101, it was time to straighten up and get to work and he did. In graduating with distinction he proved to us that our mantras of "buckle down" and "put your nose to the grindstone" and a few other universal parent-isms were worthwhile.
It wasn't long ago that he was telling me that kissing him at the bus stop was out. If I wanted to kiss him good bye each morning it had to be before we left the house. He'd still hold my hand but kissing was not happening. I shed a tear then too.
We spend the early part of our lives wishing we were older, able to hit those all important markers sooner. We spend the rest of it wishing time would slow down, so we could savour the really sweet ones.
Thank you to a wonderful University that prepared both our children for whatever life has to offer them. From day one when the welcoming committee took each of them under their wing helped them move into the dorm and passed out tissues to parents and gently sent us on our way, to the graduation ceremony when they wished them well as they embark on a new exciting chapter in their lives so much better prepared for it after spending four years with them.
Barbara Coloroso author of the best seller, Kids Are Worth It, is a delightful woman who has been a guest on our talk show many times. She has often said our job as parents is to give our children roots and wings. I thought about that as I sat in Memorial Hall and watched our son. No one ever said it would be easy or that you wouldn't cry when they spread them.
Paul and Carol Mott can be heard discussing the issues weekdays from 11 until noon streamed through their website themotts.ca.