celebrations

That Time of Year

Graduations. Awards ceremonies. End of year gatherings. Oh how fortunate one feels to be in public this year celebrating others. A gift of sorts. Really it is if you compare it to what others missed in 2020.

For me I’m selfishly excited. First I’m happy to celebrate others. Next to celebrate being able to celebrate at all. And finally to secretly honor those who missed their chance last year. The chance they can’t get back as time has moved on.

As we celebrate in any fashion this year let’s think of those who missed out last year. Some missed graduation. Others missed a normal funeral to honor a loved one lost. Many missed their wedding day. Some missed a big award day they waited many years to be a part of. Maybe even a final season of one’s sports team was missed. 

This year I went to a graduation. It was masked. It was socially distanced. It was different. But I was able to participate and celebrate the graduate. I didn’t take that lightly this year. While waiting I had many thoughts or reflections. It’s was an eye-opening experience in many ways. An awakening.

I went to a college signing event this year. I listened to the stories. The athletes who sustained season ending injuries in 2019 causing pain and rehabilitation to prepare for 2020 seasons only to have a pandemic hit. Only to emerge in 2021 to rise again and overcome. I would have missed these stories as they are not in the headlines yet deserve a spotlight as do the other untold stories. I may cheer in silence but I’m celebrating all who missed that opportunity for whatever reason I’m 2020. 

This experience also gave me a whole new level of understanding for playing like there is no tomorrow. Every game is like your last. Leave it all on the line. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed on or off the field.

Now that we are in 2021 and restrictions are lifted I seem to be on the go. Go here go there. Do I complain about being busy? Yes. Would I want to be in isolation? Heck no! I do however need to be able to pause and make sure I don’t miss celebrating others due to my busy schedule. For the reasons I noted above, others need the chance to celebrate in 2021 because so much was missed in 2020.

I may have too many graduations to make them all but I will send that card. Send that text. Make that call. It’s an important step in 2021. For all those virtually reading this I’m sending you a celebratory high five if you are in need of celebrating. For those of you who have the opportunity to celebrate a milestone in 2021, make it a point to honor others.

It feels good to celebrate others. If you have somebody in your life who missed something big in 2020, send them a follow up this year. A card. A note. A call. A secondary celebration for making it a great year despite the blah of 2020. Why not? We have so many have-tos in life why not just do something different. 

anonymous letters

Graduation Day

 

Recently, someone close to me reached a huge goal. She called me, a mix of relief and joy in her voice, to tell me the news.  She celebrated a graduation day of a special kind.

Not everyone knew what she went through.  Not everyone could see her struggle. Most didn’t even know she was on this path. It was a kind of schooling that she took on not because anyone said she had to.  It was the kind of schooling she took on just for herself. When the time was right, she volunteered.  She committed. Invested. She did the work.

Not many people knew what brought her to the doorstep of that school.  She was pretty quiet about the learning she had to do, the lessons involved, the tests she brought upon herself.  She found her own teacher, someone she thought could help her find her way to her goals. And she worked with that teacher faithfully to learn what she needed to know. She did the work. There is no substitute for doing the work.

Life is full of schools.  Some are official, with bells and class rosters.  Some schools are of our own making, when we decide it’s time to level up, or maybe level out.  There are schools of hard knocks and schools of higher learning. Schools for driving and schools where we learn to be a passenger.  Lessons from classrooms, lessons from the streets, and life lessons that we have to learn over and over again, sometimes the hard way.  But for the most part, once we get past the tweenage years, the schools we attend are by choice.

It takes courage to take ourselves to school when we know we need to learn something but it won’t be fun or easy.  These kinds of schools aren’t required.  No attendance officer is going to call you if you don’t show up.  Holding ourselves accountable can be one of the biggest challenges we face when the topics are tough and the lessons are long. Homework is the deep challenge of learning, unlearning, and relearning how to think and live. We may not get grades, but we know when we’ve failed and when we’ve passed.

It’s not the kind of graduation where she gets a cap and gown. No cords for clubs or uncomfortable seats.  No one is sending her gifts or cards. No diploma will hang on her wall. But she does wave at the crowd, whether you recognize it or not. She smiles with a deeply confident face and a fresh mind. She doesn’t stride across the stage and shake hands. Instead, she treads a quiet victory, walking her new walk every day.

There may be no certificate, no tassel, but still…she tosses her hat into the air in an inspiring way, sharing her journey and her learning as she sees fit.  To witness her journey and her graduation brought me to a new, deep level of respect for her. I celebrate her today and every day, as she bounds toward her next classroom.

 

anonymous letters, family

The Next Chapter Is In Motion

Motion: fast motion, slow motion or no motion. Which one is it?

Right now, I would say we are stalled. Where do I go? Who will help me? What am I entitled to get? Why do things cost so much? Why do I have to pay for that? How can I get a job paying 40k/year with no training, experience or advanced degree?

I almost think high school needs a “Welcome to Adulthood” class as a required step for graduation. No sugar coating things. Make them live as an adult for 60 days. See how many pass that class! Much better choice than a baby class because if you can’t be an adult, you certainly shouldn’t have a baby anytime soon.

Welcome to adulthood. Welcome, my friend. Welcome to the world of bills, bosses, crappy work hours, and so much more. It’s called adulting!

Yes, adulting is the coveted thing smart ass teens long for. Their freedom. Their ability to make their own rules. Their ability to do or not do.

They forget when you cut the cord, nobody does your laundry. Nobody pays for your car insurance. Nobody pays for that cell phone you are on 24/7. Nobody pays for your haircuts, clothes or toiletries. Why do kids today think adulting is the thing to do right now?

Kids these days don’t think about savings accounts for a rainy day. They don’t think about what happens if they can’t pay their rent. They just think somebody will help them. A form of entitlement, I guess.

This isn’t just something I see from just my parenting lens. I see it with others. Maybe not all, but a lot of kids in the middle-class suburbs where my kids have been raised. Very different from my upbringing.

To get started, I must go back a short bit. To sum up the past 9-12 months of my life could only be categorized as an insane yet thrilling roller coaster ride with many twists, turns, ups, downs, loop-de-loops and all the insane tummy drops that go along with the above!

But during it all, I remained calm on most days. I relied on my friends and family for moral support and I endured a lot of sweat in the gym to keep me grounded. All of which got me to today with a big smile on my face. I may even drop 10 pounds from reducing my stress now that this big day is here. I’ll call this the turning point.

As I sigh on one chapter coming to an end, I grin with a new one beginning. I hold my head up high and cheer loud and proud for my middle child who graduates high school. Not the straight-A student but a hard worker with a heart of gold. He battled to get to this point, but he did it and I couldn’t be more proud of him!

As he enters adulthood with that diploma in hand, he will be ready to tackle his life adventures with confidence knowing he graduated. Wherever he travels, whomever he falls in love with, whatever trouble he gets in, or whatever career path he chooses, his momma will still be there for him through thick and thin.

It’s time to cut the cord! My role changes now. I am a supporter from this point forward. I am no longer a life guide, decision maker, and prime financial supporter. Turning into an adult comes with responsibilities and growth. His decisions may frustrate me at times but they’re his decisions to make. The big 18. The legal adult. Legal adults get bills, accountability and headaches.

He can choose to drink, smoke, get a tattoo or worse. He gets to choose and learn from mistakes as well as celebrate accomplishments. It’s his road/path/journey.

It’s funny when your know-it-all teens realize that soap, haircuts, gas and other things are expenses just like rent, food, clothing, vehicles, etc. The real world hits quickly. When you finish up school, it’s time to get a job and be a contributing adult. How quickly one learns that adulting sucks on most days!

It’s time to let child #2 soar to his new heights. My job is done for now. May he take the strength and wisdom I taught him over the years and springboard into his own level of happiness.

Dream big kiddo. Seize the day. You deserve the very best and I know the best is still ahead for you. Embrace life and all the experiences in front of you.

Choose your friends wisely and think before you make you make decisions with long-term consequences.

xoxo,
Your Mom