Dear Moms- I did it, I didn't fail! I'm sure every mom and dad worries just like me that they are failing at this parenting thing. But high school graduation is one tiny brief moment where we can collectively exhale and know we achieved a big milestone.... even though we were just making everything up the whole time.
Yesterday goes down in my record books as one of my best days ever! The pride I felt watching my oldest child graduate had almost nothing to do with him, or his accomplishments, and EVERYTHING to do with me. I created an adult. Growing a baby inside me was all biology and birthing my baby was all doctors (c-section). But watching my son graduate was validation that all the immeasurable heartache, self doubt and guessing at parenting actually accomplished something. I know I will never stop being his mother but the act of parenting changes from this moment forward.
The day my oldest son was born, just before my 25th birthday, I thought I had everything in life figured out. Now, 18 years later, I have more questions than I have answers. The "Truths" I know now are simple. But as I watched my kid graduate I was filled with the realization that he knows what I believe in. This doesn't mean that my kid will always make the right choice but he will always know what his mom would tell him. As Will walked across the football field to shake hands with the administration and receive his empty diploma folder I thought about all the truly important truths I taught him that will serve him in the next phase of his life.
Mom's lessons in being a good adult-
1. The Universe has great plans for you. Always keep in harmony and communication with the Universe and you will know the direction to go.
2. Talent isn't as important as hard work. You are not so special that the rules don't apply to you. Meet your deadlines and doors will open.
3. Always have 3 hobbies to help you stay balanced and healthy. One hobby that gives you exercise. One hobby that lets you create something. One hobby that is a source of music.
4. Talk to people when you are hurting and confused. Sometimes the most dangerous place to be is inside your own head. If you wouldn't say it to your best friend, don't say it to yourself.
5. Face-to-face interaction is essential to happiness. No online joy will every replace a belly aching laugh with a friend. One friend in person is worth 1,000,000 virtual friends.
6. Give a firm hand shake and look people in the eye when you talk to them, especially during job interviews. Write a good cover letter and always have an updated resume handy.
7. Your social life is your responsibility. Relationships are essential- as human beings we need them to survive. Don't wait for the phone to ring, reach out and call someone.
8. Good communication skills and follow through will get you most of the way to where you want to be. Ask questions so that you know the answers.
9. You will make mistakes and feel pain- it's how human beings learn. You are defined by how you pull yourself back up after falling down.
10. We are all humans just doing the best we can. Give other people and yourself the benefit of the doubt.
11. You can walk away from things and people that do not serve you anymore with out explaining yourself to anyone. If someone doesn't help you be the best version of yourself, don't give them time and energy.
12. Earning a paycheck feels good.
13. Don't be a know-it-all because you truly can never know it all.
14. Give back to the communities that give to you.
15. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. We are on this planet to help each other.
16. "Thank you" are two of the most important words in your tool box. Say them often. Gratitude prevents a lot of problems.
17. Kind words are free and will never run out. Never miss an opportunity to say a kind word.
18. Karma is always watching, put goodness out so that goodness comes back.
19. Be honest with yourself and others.
20. You are worthy of your biggest dreams so work hard and dream big!
As my oldest heads off into the next chapter of his life, already breaking rule #13, I know I did my best to give him a tool box full of skills to make his mark in this world. The training time is done, now it's time to watch what my adult kid creates with the skills and tools he's learned. I've finally graduated from daily parenting and now my job is to remind him of his value, cheer him on towards his future, and remind him I love him. Congratulations Will! You made me a mother but you have made me the proudest mother when I look in your face and see your excitement and determination for your path ahead. I'll always be here in the stands, cheering the loudest and taking pictures so we can remember all the great milestones.
(Awesome balloons created by POP PARK CITY- Thanks Jennifer, Sara and Nixon!)