Time for graduation

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 5/15/24

The big moment for so many is once again upon us. Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally reached that time of year again where high school seniors, as well as a hefty number of Eastern Wyoming College …

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Time for graduation


The big moment for so many is once again upon us. Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally reached that time of year again where high school seniors, as well as a hefty number of Eastern Wyoming College students will finally have their moment.

That cherished moment for them and their families when they walk across the stage, graduation gown and tassels all in place, to at last receive their coveted high school diploma.

Once again, it is merely a moment in our lives which truly has the power and ability to last forever. For the rest of our lives, we will always remember that brief moment where we felt as if we had reached a major landmark in our own personal journey; for ourselves and our children.

Graduating from high school certainly means something special not only to students, but certainly their parents, grandparents, friends and families.

Truth be told the entire day can be quite the emotional roller coaster for everyone. After all, thirteen long (or short) years have culminated into one prestigious and traditional ceremony.

So many memories for everyone start burning through our minds on the day of our high school graduation. We start to reflect heavily on all the wonderful, or even difficult memories made over so many years.

The second we see our sons and daughters receive their diploma; we instantly start thinking of when we were dropping them off each morning at kindergarten.

We can vividly remember it like it was yesterday. They were riding in the backseat of the car probably singing along to whatever Miley Cyrus song was popular at the time, and kicking their little feet ever so softly into the back of our seat as we tried to drive.

It was a time of innocence and a time we will always cherish deep within our own hearts. Again, we think of these things as we watch them walk across that stage.

We think about the old days of watching them and the rest of their class sing [sort of] in unison together during their elementary school concerts, and we think about the days of taking care of them when they were home sick.

It all culminates now into one great big emotional ride.

We have gone from so many years of watching them grow, to now wondering exactly will come next.

So many of them already have a strong idea of what is now going to come. Obviously, a fair number have already enrolled in colleges both near and far from home, while others are more than eager to hit the workforce and start making some money.

All these things definitely can weigh heavy on a parent’s mind, and understandably they have every right to feel this way.

The truth is we tend to think of graduation as the end of so many things. In particular, for so many it represents the end of a childhood.

Having said that, in all actuality just because they are legal adults now does not mean they are going to grow up in a day. They certainly didn’t earn their diploma in a single day; and they definitely aren’t going to be ready for a steady career and mortgage the day after graduating for cryin’ out loud. 

We actually tend to falsely believe our children do not or will not need us any longer after they graduate from high school. If we are being completely honest with ourselves, our parental duties are far from over people. In fact if we are thinking long term, they really have only begun.

Make no mistake when many of them set foot in their college dorm the first day, and try to get some sleep on their first night. Chances are you are probably going to hear from them. They are either going to say how excited they are, or how much they miss you already and start begging to come home.

Either way by no means are we done with them, or are they done with us.

As parents we are never going to be done raising our kids. Ever. If anything, now might be the time from a parental viewpoint to start getting excited. In fact, our kids are going to need us big time moving forward, but they will have to start being a bit more responsible and self-reliant. And don’t worry, all those times where you had to nag them about doing chores will resonate with them now.

Big time.

Good news when we think about how bad they could wear us out when they were five years old.

Remember when they would run home after school excitedly and tell you about something wonderful that happened at school? Don’t worry. This is going to continue. When they ace a college exam or land an awesome job somewhere, you are going to be the first to know. When they are faced with a problem, a crisis or a very difficult decision, who do you think will be the first person they call? Yep, it’s going to be you.

If anything, it’s the beginning of yet another wonderful chapter in our lives and the lives of our children. Think of it as graduating to a higher tier in life and parenthood. That’s all. As for a longing of the days of when they were small, don’t worry about that either. They are tucked away deep in our minds, hearts and photo albums which will always be there for a rainy day. When we think about our children, our memories won’t fail us so please don’t worry about that either. 

So when they get that diploma, look up at you and give you the biggest smile you have ever seen, give yourself a big pat on the back. They wouldn’t have done it without you, and you were there every single step of the way. This is their way of letting you know this.

This truly is what makes graduation so special. It’s a tremendous accomplishment for our children, our families, our community and ourselves. Feel the emotions and let yourself be overwhelmed for a bit. It’s all part of the process and you will feel like a million bucks once everything settles down.

Just because we watched out children graduate doesn’t mean they will stop being our children. And it definitely doesn’t mean we will stop being parents.

Happy graduation to all of you!