It’s been a busy few weeks for the community, especially for our local schools as they wrap up the school year. It’s been an adventure as Brian Larsen and I struggle to remember when and where all the events are taking place. We’ve been juggling and rearranging schedules to try to be everywhere to get photos. And then, we have to find time to write it all up. It’s a tiring, but fun time of year.
I’ve been consoling myself that coming soon is the one week of the year that I do not write a column. You see this week before graduation is a bit of a cheat week for me.
I try really hard not to repeat myself in Unorganized Territory. I’ve written this column every week since October 9, 1999, so there have been times when similar ideas have been expressed. I’ve never intentionally run the exact same thoughts on the exact same topic.
But I’ve come close with the column I’ve written for parents of graduating seniors each year. It’s become a tradition to write this column which almost writes itself.
I write for the parents because the graduates of the Class of 2015 are far too busy to read a newspaper column. I know, they were almost too busy to get their senior photos and interview to us for our special Meet the Class of 2015 feature!
The members of the Class of 2015 are too excited to look to the News-Herald for sage advice. They are busy making travel and housing plans for college next fall or getting in shape for the physical training they will be met with when they enter the military. They are spending these final spring days with the dear friends to whom they will soon be saying tearful farewells.
It’s an amazing time for the Class of 2015 and they don’t need any more advice from caring community members.
It’s different for parents. It’s a bittersweet time for them. Parents are filled with relief that all those battles over homework and curfews are over. They are proud that their child has fulfilled the requirements of graduation and will make a dramatic entry in his or her cap and gown.
But there is also that looming goodbye—the one that every parent dreads from the time their son or daughter takes his or her first steps, shyly waves goodbye on the way to preschool, or gets behind the steering wheel for the first time. Graduation is a final rite of passage, one that comes all too soon.
It’s impossible that the tiny baby that changed your world could turn into an adult so quickly. It’s hard to believe how fast all those years of teacher conferences, spring concerts, sporting events, and last-minute grade concerns, flew by.
The last few months are the craziest, with the final chaos of invitations and open houses. I think the parents are the ones who need the pat on the back right now.
So, I hope they take a few minutes to sit down and read this column. They need a little time for themselves right now. They need a break between cleaning house for the party and figuring out where visiting relatives will sleep; between buying decorations and calculating how much cake will be eaten; between all the chaos that comes from planning for graduation.
Truly, it is good that there is a lot to do—it makes the fast-approaching farewell a bit easier for mom and dad. At least until the graduate packs up his or her belongings and leaves them to the empty nest.
For those parents, I’m ending with a longer-than-usual quote. I received it from my mom when my first “baby” graduated in 1997. I’ve shared this Erma Bombeck quote in Unorganized Territory several times now. It still makes me tear up when I read it, but I still find comfort in it.
I hope the parents of the Class of 2015 do too.
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Children are like kites. You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless – they crash – you add a longer tail – they hit the rooftop – you pluck them out of the spout – you patch and comfort, adjust and teach. You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they’ll fly!
…Finally they are airborne, but they need more string – you keep letting it out and with each twist of the ball of twine, there is a sadness that goes with the joy, because the kite becomes more distant and somehow you know that it won’t be long until that beautiful creature will snap the life line that bound you together and soar as it was meant to soar – free and alone.