] am at a loss for words. Six weeks of nonstop chaos: cap and gowns, final transcript requests, announcements, thank you cards, FASFA questions, and parties. It all came to a grinding halt June 19, 2013, when my 17 year old “baby” became a HS graduate.
With a turn of the tassel and a mortarboard toss in the air all that remained were handshakes, a few hugs then it was over. Twelve years of hard work, done and celebrated in under 2 hours. Honestly, the day felt anticlimactic even though we both beamed with pride and excitement.
While the diploma has joined the “congradulations” cards collecting on the mantle, the cap and gown have been tossed into the corner of a closet. Graduation is over and the balled up cap and gown is a clue that he’s ready to move on.
But now what do I do? Josh heads off to college next week for orientation and class scheduling. We’re discussing the merits of used vs. new textbooks and how cost effective Amazon is for book purchasing. The tenor of our conversations have definitely evolved to practical and grown up issues. We’ve even researched renter insurance for his dorm room.
While Josh may be ready for college, I must admit that I’m not. How will my role as a parent change? How will I adapt to being pushed aside? How can I convince him to install FaceTime on his iphone so we can talk to each other? More importantly, can I figure out how to use it? How do I let him stretch his wings, celebrate his successes, learn from his failures and make that lasting impact on society? I don’t know.
To stay busy, I’m thinking about ways to “trick out” his dorm room. But of course, Pinterest! I started a new board called dorm room décor. I have at least a creative way to channel some nervous energy and create something fun. Will I try any of these projects? No, but it’s something to fill my minutes.
While there are many pinterest boards already living on the site, mine consists mainly of checklists. What to pack. What to bring for his classes, closets and computers. I’m really trying to find something to do to prevent me from thinking about the final good-bye in 6 weeks.
So as I join so many other graduating families, my column for the next year will address our newly emptied nests. I want to examine not only how our roles as parents change but how do our kids? This column needs you in order to be successful so join the conversation, post your thoughts, feelings and survival skills from which was can all benefit. I will not only be using print during this series, but video and interactive tools so that we all can thrive as empty nesters. Tell your friends and encourage them to join in. WE have a magical opportunity to bond and grow together.
Practical Tips for the months before the send off:
1.Call your auto insurance company and explore “suspending” your child’s auto insurance while he/she is in college. Save money!
2.Find renter’s insurance to cover the electronics your child will have in his/her dorm room
3.Make a “home sweet home” gift to leave as a surprise after you sneak off move in day
4.Consider treating yourself to something special as your graduation gift to look forward to once your child has flown the next for college
Cheryl Stahle is on a quest to help people tell their stories one memoir at a time. Author of the book Slices of Life: The Art and Craft of Memoir Writing, Butler-Stahle has made it her mission to help others put their stories to paper, while they are still here to tell them.
To learn more about her online classes on life story telling and author coaching, visit www.yourbestwritinggroup.com or www.facebook.com/Your Best Writing Group.