Thursday, May 24, 2012

A New Phase Of Parenting: Graduation Week

his first day of high school

after the last day (his dress shirt and tie already shed)

This is Isaac's big high school graduation week.  His last day was Friday.  For the last three weeks he has been doing Senior Project which is a super smart thing invented by the Jesuits at his all-boy school that requires all the seniors to shadow professionals in a career they may be interested in.  It's not only super smart for the obvious reasons, it's super smart because it takes all the crazy, hyper, "I'm done with school, let's party" seniors out of the school for the month of May.  They have to set this all up themselves, then keep a journal, write a paper and do a presentation on the entire experience before a panel of teachers.  And then-DONE!  I can't even believe it.

Isaac followed an attorney at the county prosecutor's office, an accountant, and a teacher.  He had such good experiences at all of them.  Eye-opening really.  What I thought he'd like he didn't at all, and what I thought would bore him to tears (accounting?) he loved the most.  Just goes to show me that I'm glad I stayed the heck out of the whole dealeo and let him pick and choose.

He also procured a summer job.  A bagger at the local grocery store.  I couldn't be more proud because he did this all himself...put in his application, called, called again, dropped off a resume, called again...basically did exactly what you have to do to get a job nowadays.  On his first day he pocketed a few tips, and came home and asked me for some advice on bagging.  I said, "It's all about the bread. Watch the bread!"  I thought it was nice he cared enough to ask.

People ask me if I'm emotional with him graduating.  Yes and no.  Of course I think of all the darn work it took to get this far.  School never came easy to him and boy, he MADE it and did great!  And worked really really hard to do so.  So I am SO proud of him and when I think back on all those homework struggles, all the little disappoints after studying hard for a test and just doing "ok", the times we were frustrated or worried endlessly about him, it makes me emotional.  I finished his scrapbooks and gosh, he looks SO young all the way through-SO much younger than everyone else in all his classes from kindergarten to this senior year.  And he kept up!.  Because he had to.  And that required a huge effort on his part.

He has been such a good, sweet, happy kid to raise.  (I'm not done yet, I know!)  He has always been so respectful to us, and just has taken his role as the oldest in this family to heart and set a wonderful example for his younger siblings.


I've always told Isaac, "You know you are our first, so we have NO idea what we are doing-you have just been a giant experiment for us."  But I make sure to thank him-because he has been forgiving, and kind, and so much fun, through the entire 18 years, and has rolled with the punches of our constantly changing and growing family.  More than rolled with the punches, but never even had a moment of sibling jealousy-he was more excited about each new baby than ever.  And this new one coming (my due date is two days before his college move-in date) is no different.

But part of me doesn't want to be too emotional.  First, there is the pregnancy thing.  Emotional=scary.  You know it does!  For God's sake, if I start bawling in public, it's not going to be tearing up, it's going to be an endless downright river and I do NOT want to do that.  And the more important reason-it's not the end!  It's just high school.  Honestly, that's the way I feel.  It's the beginning of something SO exciting for him-we have years to go, huge growing up years, and I can't wait for him to experience this next phase of becoming an adult.  Sure, I can work myself into nervousness and no doubt that hysterical river of tears will happen when we drop him off at college (me with either pregnancy hormones still raging or just-gave-birth hormones which maybe even by more frightening?), but it's just one more new phase of growth for him, and a new phase of parenting for me.  It's called the letting go phase and you know what?  It feels right. More right than I could have ever imagined. It feels like we will be OK.  It feels like I've gotten him in the right place for that to begin to happen, and I'm so excited to watch the rest unfold.


49 comments :

  1. What a great place to be in... ready to let go. I wonder if I'll feel the same way. Right now, I want them to be babies again so I can rock them to sleep and read them board books :) But I'm sure that will pass, especially when they're ready and excited to move on to the next phase of life.
    What fun it will be for him to come home from college to his new little brother or sister!

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  2. K well I want to cry! He just seems like the sweetest big brother Sarah. I love that you will have one leaving and a new one coming all at the same time. Such an exciting time for your sweet family. And yes! Hold back the tears or the ugly cry will take over and you will have no hope of regaining composure. Been there done that. :)

    So happy for you all!

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  3. You mean stores don't give their baggers a training?! No wonder my bread gets smashed all the time!

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  4. What a time of transition. Sounds like you are in a great place. That last paragraph there made me cry....and I font even have kids yet! You must feel so proud!

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  5. Once again your words come my way to encourage and inspire me. Thank you.
    What a touching post. I post to read again every couple of months to remind me of some important truths about raising children.
    Congratulations to Isaac! How exciting!
    God bless.

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  6. Loving this post so hard. I like the senior project idea - would love to see my kids do that in their later school years.

    Ushering one child to college while tending a little one new to the world - you're amazing!

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  7. I remember those feelings and you are right, you are not done. College is when they make some of the biggest decisions of their life. He will need your guidance often.
    If you do end up blubbering in public at least you have an excuse. I did not.lol

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  8. What is that saying - Lucky parents have good kids or is it Lucky kids have good parents! Enjoy this time you know there is more good times to come.

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  9. I don't usually comment but I just had to say that I am a mess reading this and thinking about letting go of my oldest who is currently just four years old and cuddled on the couch next to me. But I hope I can say he is ready and I am ready when that day comes... that we gave him a strong foundation. You are such a great example and I am excited to learn from you as you head through this new part of parenting.

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  10. This is beautiful. I love the balance, the big picture, the peace you're maintaining. It gives those of us with years to go assurance that we'll be alright, too. Thank you. And congratulations, Isaac!!

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  11. He's grown a foot! The french schools have a shadowing system too. I like the idea of the seniors doing this in May, is it for a full day every day?

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  12. New reader here. I just want to say thank you for your tutorial you posted a while back on how to make a blog banner. I'm about to be a first time mom, and I've been looking around your posts, and it gives me a bit of insight on what's to come! :)

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  13. wow, you are taking this way better than I am. A year from now my oldest will graduate and I can cry about it even now. Where is Issac going to college? Mine is talking about U of M Dearborn. She is staying home, working and saving money. I am more of a mess about my 4th grader leaving her school to go to the next one which houses all 5th and 6th grades. Sniff.

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  14. How exciting! I can't belive how much he has grown from picture to picture. Such a handsome young adult! I think my mom was the same way when we all graduated. She wasn't sad. Just really proud and excited. But, my mom did not have the pregnancy hormones either. Sooooo..... good luck! You are doing a great job kiddo!

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  15. Wow, okay, well, I will cry for you, because that last paragraph was so touching! What a wonderful blessing to have reached that place of comfort with the past 18 years and excitement for the next phase to come. I can only hope to feel that same way when my little bitty babies get to that point. Congratulations to Isaac and to all of you! Just wonderful!

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  16. Happy Milestone! I may have teared up while reading this *sniffle* as I we just crossed a milestone as well and I could relate with the first child and the big experiment. Bless you and yours, Anna

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  17. Such a great post! Can't imagine the day my oldest graduates.....

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  18. Such a great post! Can't imagine the day my oldest graduates.....

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  19. Beautiful post. Congratulations to Isaac and the whole family. God bless.

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  20. One of the really positive things about children growing up, graduating & getting one with their lives is that, in addition to still being your child, they become a really good adult friends.

    My children are grown and gone. What I miss most is snuggling on my bed with them at bedtime and reading to them.

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  21. I'm so glad to hear that you can let him go and be excited for the next phase. The thought of it makes me tear up. My oldest is 9 and I've been dreading it since birth. On a side note, steer him away from teaching! I'm not sure what the state of teaching is like where you live, but in Michigan it's very disheartening. My husband is a teacher.

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  22. So excited for him...so proud for you...bravo, mama! And you are right, it's a milestone but not an ending! What an amazing big brother he is--some "experiments" don't work--others change the world. Congrats on landing in the 2nd category!

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  23. Congrats to all of you! What an exciting time! :)

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  24. what a beautiful inspiring post.
    Congratulations to Isaac, and congratulations to you momma! You did good. What an exciting time for you all.

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  25. I always think it but don't always post...I so appreciate your posts! You're inspiring, helpful, & love your honesty & style. Happy for you! And a couple of your guys so remind me of my oldest who is 7yrs :) (and sidenote - it was your posts that lead my head to the idea of getting a trampoline for my boys! we are taking out a couple smaller trees in our tiny backyard & doing it!! so excited! thanks. :) Take care.

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  26. He seems like a wonderful boy! You seem very calm about the whole due two days before he starts at college thing though. Is he going somewhere close-by? My 3rd baby is due August 16th which is the day before my oldest's first day of kindergarten--and I am determined not to miss that day, and it's just kindergarten. Guess I should calm down--don't mind being massively pregnant on that day, don't mind toting along a newborn, but just don't want to be stuck in the hospital. Best of luck!

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  27. I did not cry at any of my 3 boys graduation......however the day that they are standing there in front of their college dorm and you say your goodbyes is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.....cried the whole way home and every time after that when I talked to them on the phone or walked into their empty room......now when they come home from college I cry again....but now I cry because I have more laundry and cooking to do....lol

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  28. Such a bittersweet time. Congratulations to your oldest on his graduation. And to you mommy ... well done !!!!!

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  29. Ok Sarah, I will SOB for you!! The posts on your kiddos growing up, maturing, excelling, etc. always, I mean always, give me a lump in my throat and produce a tear or two. I don't know you or your kids, but through your words and pictures, I root for you and your family through all of the milestones. A big Congratulations to Isaac for graduating and making your parents proud!

    My boys are still little (8, 6, 3), but I can't help but see them in Isaac's shoes, ready to conquer the world. Waaaahhhhhhhh!!! sniff...snifff....someone pass the tissues....

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  30. I love love reading your blog! I haven't been for a little bit but as soon as I do, I get swept up in the warmth of your posts. I love how you write, the honesty, the non judgemental, the common sense which I hope to use when my children become teenagers. I loved the post about Abbey's shorts and I feel I am already battling that battle now with a 4 year old girl! I love your house, when you show it tidy and untidy. Thanks for an amazing blog!

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  31. How exciting and how proud you must be! I love that Isaac was able to "shadow" some potential future employers. Schools are so smart to do that! I wish they did that during my time. My husband also started off as a grocery store bagger...he said it taught him the great lesson of working hard in college so he doesn't end up with a job like that when he gets out. :) I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and a super fun graduation party!

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  32. Your Isaac reminds me of our oldest in a lot of ways. It's so refreshing to read an honest blog about a child's struggles and triumphs. In this town if you ever honestly talk about child-rearing people act like you have two heads b/c everyone thinks their child is soooo "gifted".

    Maybe I'll run into Isaac at the store, and I'll make sure he doesn't smoosh my bread :).

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  33. You are handling this so much better than I can dream I will - my oldest is about to graduate preschool and when I saw that picture in her 'cap and gown' I lost it.

    The photo with your youngest and oldest is incredible. My sister is 14 years older than me and I still look at her that way - admiration and love all wrapped up in one glance. Such a gift you are giving all of your children!

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  34. The day I stumbled upon your blog was a great one. I, truly... as crazy stalker as it sounds... anticipate you blog posting for the day, daily.

    My oldest (of a measly 3 kids ;) ) is graduating PRESCHOOL and I have those same feeling. On one hand we are ready and it feels right but on MY other hand I am not ready. It came way to quick. I can't even imagine how quickly the next 13 years are going to go.

    Thank you for this post and all your other.

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  35. OK...well I'll cry for you. Eeeks.

    I think its very profound that you feel "ready" for the next step. I feel like it shows a great readiness on your part because you guys have done so well up to now. The fact that you arent looking back wishing things were different, or that you had certain things to do over again, is really, really cool. And it seems so healthy.

    I am not good at letting go. Just yesterday, I dropped something off at school and watching our 8th graders line up for their award assembly kind of tugged at my heart a little. You see, I could've cried but our oldest is only 10 right now. It just rang home to me how quickly the time passes. I always want to bottle up the moment. But moving ahead is also a good thing.

    I can't even imagine how its going to feel saying goodbye to one and welcoming another. Thats very, very cool! Knowing you, you"ll do just fine.

    Amy W.
    Chicago

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  36. Wow, he does look so young! Congratulations to all of you, very exciting!

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  37. I pray this is how we'll feel when the day comes, too. He is a lucky boy to have such grounded parents!

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  38. Congratulations on bringing up such a wonderful young man!

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  39. Ok I just pictured you dropping off your oldest at college while holding a car seat with a brand new baby and totally teared up! I just love your family, it reminds me so much of my own growing up. I hope to have a big family too, so much fun always going on.

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  40. Well you made ME tear up! He sounds a lot like my oldest boy and at the school activity today I realized he really is so much younger than his classmates...but he handles it well! (my son IS the youngest in his grade) Fortunatly I still have some grade-school years ahead of me...I hope I feel ready to let go when its time!

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  41. what a great last month for the seniors!:) perfect plan. congrats to you on this big milestone. and for making it through so far without the puddle of tears.:)
    have a happy day sarah

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  42. My daughter is graduating next week (and on her senior class trip right now). He does looks a lot younger than most seniors I know, especially the girls.

    See my girl here.

    http://ourlifeinaclick.blogspot.com/2012/05/preppin-for-party.html


    I am feeling the same way you are, it's emotional but I'm so excited for her and this next chapter in her life. That's what we've been striving for and it's really happening!!

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  43. Touching post - you made me cry! He is a great kid.
    I always think ahead with stages of kids as my oldest is only 7 yrs (baby #5 on the way...) but I always think I am not going to be ready for the next stage but it is like God ALWAYS makes you ready for the next stage and it ends up being a good place to be - the next stage in life.
    I hope my boys grow up to be like Isaac!

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  44. My oldest graduated too. I am at peace as well. Congratulations to your whole family. It takes the whole family!

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  45. Oh Gosh- you son sounds so much like my oldest Jake who is 13. I know the next 5 years will fly by and I am just in awe of your control bc I am tearing up just reading this (and I'm not pregnant either!) Congratulations!

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  46. good morning! this post has been on my mind since I first read it last week. my boy is 7 1/2 and finishing up 1st grade next week and your words really made me think about why it's important to really invest in him right now.

    my new link party is now live: http://theterpblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-living-width-volume-i.html

    I hope you'll link up a post or two! thanks!

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  47. Love your blog, You are sure a busy Mom.

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