This is the season for the celebration of new beginnings. Every May, I am reminded of this season when I open my mailbox to find it overflowing with a myriad of invitations.
Some are for high school or college graduations. Others are inviting friends and family to celebrate the union of two joining their lives in a new future together. No matter what the event, it is always an occasion of great joy and celebration.
We had our own celebration this year as my husband’s oldest son graduated from college. The coliseum was alive in a sea of exhilaration, pride, happiness! Years of work, promise and hope were fulfilled before our eyes. The joy that radiated seemed to have a life of its own that was reflected in every word, every breath, every smile. For the graduates, one door was closing while another, yet fully unknown, door was just beginning to open.
It’s right and good that we are focused on the graduate at this time. This is their moment – their celebration to mark the achievement of the first of many milestones in their lives. Graduation should be about them. This is their walk down the runway and to make them the center of attention is exactly how it should be.
However, in the joy of their celebration, we lose focus that this life event marks not only a new beginning for the graduate, but a new beginning for the parents as well. One phase of the parents’ life – the life that revolved around PTA, car pools, little league, senior prom - is beginning to close. As our children begin the walk through the doorway to their future, we begin our walk into the next phase of our lives as well – a walk where we are no longer the parents of small children. A walk where we are no longer needed on a daily basis to kiss away the hurts of a scraped knee or broken heart. A walk where we have become the parents of fully functioning, self-sufficient adults who don’t quite “need” us in the same way that they did when they were young.