I cannot believe that our little Gab is now a college graduate. She IS a young adult, and logically I know that she is old enough…WHERE DID THE TIME GO?! In my mind, I still see my little girl, dependant on her parents. OMG. OMFG! Gab is a college graduate! Yes, she worked hard, graduated Summa Cum Laude and with University Honors; she deserves all the rewards of her efforts. We are extremely proud of her! She not only graduated from her formal education, but also graduate from this part of her life. As both Gab and Bec would say, she is now a real person. They are right – even though my graduation from college was 32 years ago, I remember being excited, nervous and a little scared at the realization that I had the entire world and lifetime ahead of me. I am very excited for Gab reaching this milestone, even as I hold back the tears. I did not expect the flood of emotions, and for someone that general does not display or talk about them, it was unexpected.
As the baccalaureate candidates moved their tassels from the right to the left side of their caps, it dawned on me, that in some way, Gab is not the only one to graduate. As parents, Debbie and I, in part, subtly graduate as well. Yes, Bec is still in school, but with Gab, as she moves onto the next stage in her life, we, too, have to begin to transform ourselves as parents to help her with this new phase. As a student, Mom and Dad are always there for them, and whether living at home or away, we have always been there. But, with this next stage in life, there are new transitions, new challenges and new opportunities ahead. While Gab has to face them, we need to be able to provide a new and different support for her. While we received no “Marriage Handbook,” and no “Raising Children Handbook,” the “You Now a Have College Graduate Handbook” did not show up either. This is a time to embrace the opportunities before us, whether as a college graduate, a parent and, to some extent, as sisters.
“I love graduation season!” Bec happily exclaimed. She reflected on the excitement of her graduation of High School and how now that Gab is graduating, she will be next. There is something exciting about leaving your school life behind. 32 years ago, when I graduated from Lehigh – I was done with school and looking forward to the future before me, to make my own path, to put my mark on the world and take on whatever came my way. Life is exciting! As we age, we take on responsibility that could weigh us down…but, only if we let it. I am still excited at looking forward to what is to come, for my girls, for Debbie, for myself and as a family. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” While graduating school might seem like a destination, it is merely one-step on a life long journey. As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Each step along the journey should be happily celebrated, and as we graduate each phase, we can happily look forward with great anticipation to the next step.
Congratulations to all who have graduated this season, and best of luck as this journey we call life continues!