As my son walked across the stage to receive his high school diploma yesterday from the Quaker school he attended in Providence RI for 8 years, I felt the tug on my heart of both immense joy and subdued grief.
Flashbacks of…the soccer games, the awards ceremonies, the parent conferences, the early pick-ups from the infirmary when he wasn’t feeling well, the permission slips, the exchange of “I love you, have a good day!” as he got out of the car, the outfitting of clothes, backpacks, & books, the friends, the early morning drives to the bus stop, the “Mom, I ran out of lunch money on my debit card can you do something about it TODAY please?”
Yes, even yesterday, the first thing he said to me after receiving his diploma was, “I forgot to buy my prom ticket, can I have $25?” Which, of course, gave me reason to demand a hug first! All those things – big and little – that comprise the experience of raising a school aged child. All those things – many which I will miss and some which I admittedly won’t.
Astonishing as it may seem, I didn’t cry yesterday or even at the Baccalaureate on Wednesday evening when other parents were standing to tell tales and voice accolades for their babies going off to college. My eyes bearly dampened when we held candles as the seniors walked down the tree-lined driveway and out the school gates for the last time.
Today, the day after, I am feeling the effects. I am weepy, proud, lethargic, and essentially feel like the wind has been knocked out of me.
As I sat on my yoga mat (not doing much yoga by the way), I asked my angels about the source of the grief because I know that once I understand it better, I can develop a strategy for healing. Of course, it’s because my babies are leaving the nest and it will mostly just Peter and me this fall…(plus the chickens, sheep, dogs, cats and bazillion angel friends and deceased loves ones who like to hang around.)
The grief also comes from the fact that the structure of my life is changing, my day-to-day purpose is evolving. It’s also because I love the daily influence of spontaneous, high energy, playful, eager for life youth in our household.
Odd as this may sound, knowing the complete reason for my sadness has been a relief. It’s like the door has opened and the light is beginning to shine in.
We all experience transitions like this. All of us. Where the angels help us is with showing us where the door is and then holding it open so we can walk through to the healing that is waiting for us. On the other side is always profound joy.
I KNOW this sadness is temporary. I KNOW my angels are guiding me through. I TRUST that their love is stronger than any other force at play here. It always is. We just have to see it that way.
A little graduation day “angel wink”…there was a major thunderstorm when we left our house for the ceremony. It was rainy, thundering and just plain nasty out. We had been worried that the graduation would have to held indoors, but the angels kept saying “It’s all going to go off without a hitch. You’ll see!” (I have this thing where I believe the angels are making a statement about the next life phase through the weather patterns…a juicy topic for another time actually!)
They accented their message as a random, lone turkey appeared in the middle of a road near our house causing us to come to a complete stop while it decided what to do and then ran into the brush. Turkeys are about blessings, you see.
So as we drove the 35 minutes south to Providence, the rain stopped and the skies got brighter. We arrived at the school and what was predicted to be a 100 degree day, was a comfortable 80 degree morning. No rain.
Not only did the temperamental weather cooperate, but it was as if heaven’s tears were flowing where Mama lives with bright skies time marking life’s transition of the emptying nest.
On some level as our youngest, Theron’s graduation marks a graduation for our whole family. For Peter and me, it’s about transitioning into a second phase of adulthood – one without children’s daily needs. For our daughter, she’s seen this summer as one of change for our family for a while now. For Theron, well he’ll be living in Vermont come the fall with no one to remind him that hanging up just the jacket doesn’t constitute hanging up his suit when the vest and pants are crumbled in a ball on his chair, or fix him a turkey sandwich at 10pm or order his girlfriend’s corsage for the dance. I’m sure he’ll figure it all out out for himself.
Yes, the grief is still there, but my angels are helping me to see what’s flooding in to replace the voids. They’re also reminding me that our family will always be close.
Springtime is known for its cleansing effect and often provides a launching off point into new areas of growth. I invite you to take some time this weekend and ponder, where are you graduating to?