Celebrations / Humor / Managing Stress / Parenting

After the Tassel is Turned

"After the Tassel is Turned"] 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.

Be Well,


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.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Tags: , ,


  1. Sherrey Meyer says:

    Cheryl, reflecting on the day we became empty nesters, I remember sitting on son Craig’s bed folding the last laundry I’d ever do for him and crying. He was getting married and was in his 20s. Why was I crying? Because a part of me felt it was no longer needed, the part I call my mama heart. But that wasn’t true at all. I think what you’re attempting with your columns is much needed and will be well received. I’ve got your back on this one! 🙂

  2. Cheryl Stahle says:

    Thank you Sherrey….Josh scheduled his classes today. I have already found a room for parent weekend this fall. My son is so ready for college and the adventures which lie ahead but I think I forgot who I am. Many people share the same sentiment. I hope that we can explore this as we keep busy denying the obvious that are babies are flying the nest in the next few weeks.

  3. Nafiul Hasan says:

    Many couples are delaying family planning due to a myriad of reasons. Probably at the top of this list is financial .Today couples recognize that the expense of raising a child to maturity has more than tripled even in their lifetime. As a result, mothers are working well into the last trimester of there pregnancy Job stress along with job uncertainty places many woman at risk for premature births and earlier deliveries. Too often, couples are unable to give notice to other siblings and family members when the “unexpected occurs” Erin’s story (Deans/Dino’s ) early arrival is a story of a four year old who shares her thoughts related to her brothers early arrival. From the beginning we travel with Erin through the maze of thoughts and feelings related to her experiences with this wonderful process viewed through a young child’s eyes.
    This book can not only help those families who have experience premature births but others who might have complications that could limit the necessary time needed for small children that may not be prepared for the unexpected days ahead.

  4. I’m not quite there yet as my son just completed 9th grade. But last summer, I dropped my then 11-year-old off at Villanova for an overnight basketball camp. We went up to her dorm room, got her unpacked and settled, and got her bed made. It was only two nights away. Yet I surprised myself with the big emotions I felt that day fast-forwarding in my mind seven years to when we would be doing the same thing, only for real. I drove her from the dorm to the gym and she said I could just drop her off and didn’t need to come in with her. WHAT?? As I drove away, I actually teared up and was (inwardly) sobbing that my baby is growing up and will leave me some day!

  5. Proud of my friend the author and my godson the graduate! Great article!

  6. Cheryl stahle says:

    Hug that baby…. Those years will fly by. we just celebrated Josh’s 18th birthday yesterday….. How did that happen? My next article is all about Freshman Orientation. He leaves in less than a month for college and we’ve already discussed that he won’t e coming back….. My how the conversation has changed. I’m making Thanksgiving plans in Nashville. He has found his real place of belonging.

    Thank you for the feedback and comments. Share what we are discussing. This is a lonely ti e to be a mom. Don’t go through it alone