We did it! We graduated a kid and we survived. Actually, Garreth and I did more than survive; we glittered joy on the entire big week.
Listen, graduating a kid is no small thing. But add to that the dynamics of differing expectations, varying levels of emotional bandwith, logistical chaos, and, well, it’s a recipe for a mini disaster. Garreth and I excel in crisis situations (the sweet spot of our marriage is the hospital
) so we knew how to prepare for this. Have the hard conversations, (which required not one but two trips to our therapist), be honest and vulnerable, be incredibly purposeful and plan plan plan
. This is where the glittered joy comes in. I made a very detailed calendar for the busy big feelings week and our therapist suggested I glitter it with joy, as in, literally throw some glitter on it to reflect joy and flexibility and celebration. We needed the reminder. This became our code word, what we leaned in and whispered in hard moments, big moments, frustrating moments, emotional moments, “I’m glittering joy
.” It was said through gritted teeth and through tears, but always with solidarity.
And we definitely had our moments. Liam was out until 4am on the night of Senior Ball. I wasn’t worried because he has such a great group of friends and he checked in all night, but I didn’t get much sleep. The next day as I slogged my way through work, I felt the pain of every parent who has raised an extrovert with a social life. That’s not for wimps. Then there was the very first moment I saw Liam and his classmates march into the auditorium with their caps and gowns. I was present to the moment and just cried snotty tears and burst with pride for all those kids. Garreth was tender with me each time my eyes filled and I pulled him toward me to say, “we made this incredible kid.”
My teary moments were not the gut wrenching grief I’m anticipating when Liam leaves for college, but acknowledgment of this milestone, his growing up, from little new reader, to star pupil, to track champion. And oh my word, he’s such a track star. In the past few months, Liam reached a certain skill level and decided he really wanted the win. He crushed school records at every turn and finished his high school running career by medaling at the State Championship meet. It really was AH-mazing!
So Garreth and I did all the hard things, the wonderful but hard things. And we’ll remember that just like Liam on the back 100, we can dig deep and crush it when necessary.
And graduated Summa Cum Laude. (He’s clapping for another Top 10-er, not himself. I swear.)