My middle child graduated from college last week, and I'm still processing it. My first instinct was to move forward and think about the next thing on the list. And then my inner guide whispered, "This is a milestone; let's take a breath and celebrate it."
If you're anything like me, you're always pushing on to the next thing without celebrating successes; you are living the tug-of-war between head and heart. The heart wants to sit down and color with your nine-year-old, but the head says, "You must teach her good habits, so homework first!" The heart wants to look at baby pictures of your college graduate and remember how it used to be, and how far you've both come. But, the head wants to keep her on task and focused for her new job (yes, she got a job in marketing two weeks after graduation. Take THAT to all who said she couldn't make a living as a creative writing major!).
I am trying a new thing called walking my talk, so I chose to sit and bask in the glory of getting another kid through college (two down, two to go), because I wasn't sure it would really happen. This is the kid that I have worried about since she was six months old. I thought I needed to protect her from her father, who didn't value her, then from the rest of the world, because she was so fragile and sensitive. She reminded me of me when I was little.
For years, I thought she was my mini-me (Terricita, Version 2.0), but she wasn't. She is her own iteration of all the creativity, sass, humor and strength that has been in our maternal line for generations. She also rocks the whole work-ethic thing. She has held two jobs all through her college years. I fussed at her about her jobs compromising her GPA, to which she replied, "Mom, school is not my thing. I'm much better and happier when I'm working. Doesn't that make me more employable? Won't that serve me even better in the "real world?"
I had no answer for that beyond, "Honey, you're your own boss, now. I trust you to do the right thing." And after a few years of saying this (yes, it took me a couple of years to really let go), I believed it. But the head still says that her GPA wasn't high enough, and I really need to teach her to be responsible -- because her car is a disaster.
The head asks how will she ever succeed if her version of responsible is different from mine? The heart assures the she will succeed, because she embodies our family values. She will be happy, because she values happiness.
She will be a great employee, because she values smart work.
She will stand up for own vision, because she values courage.
This is all I ever hoped for during the worry years. I don't need to protect her anymore, because she is more than capable of living her own life, on her terms.
So, I tell my head to go take a chill pill, while I let my heart bask in this feeling of utter gratitude. I hope you will join me by celebrating whatever milestones you are experiencing right now. Whether it's your own college graduate, high school graduate or matriculating grammar school student, take a breath and be grateful. It's the end of an era, and the beginning of something completely new. Sure, there will be challenges to come, but right now, all is well.
P.S.: If you need to start your summer with an extra dose of support with your teen or pre-teen or just want to shout out something to celebrate from the end of this school year, join me on my FREE call on June 10, 2015 at noon CST. Register right away here and get my girl power for GOODIES parenting a teen or pre-teen survival pack or head to this page to find out all of the call details.