Why does everyone talk about how hard the first year of kindergarten is on a mom, but no one talks about the senior year of high school? For me it’s been way harder to handle the emotions over the last year. Our oldest is graduating next month and I have cried more over this last year than any other year as a mom. Everyone prepared me for how hard dropping your kid off for Kindergarten was, but for me I was filled with excitement. I did however cry the last day of Kindergarten probably because the first year was over.
Not one person, however, has talked to me about how hard the senior year would be. One of my co-workers has a senior this year as well and we both feel the same way. Such a mix of emotions. Proud of the young man he has turned into and how hard he has worked through out school. I am so proud of how he has become his own person. I am excited for his future and, while life is never easy, he will undoubtedly succeed.
Still I have so many thoughts and reflections about this milestone. Did I teach him everything I should have? Should I have volunteered more at school? Then the questions about what’s next for our relationship start. How often will he want to come home? How often will he want to connect? Will he still come to me for advice?
By the way, I just started crying while I am typing. These emotions have been constantly with me over the past year. I cried the first day of registration for high school but not the orientation day of college. The days he expects me to cry, I don’t. Then random things or days I do cry. Luckily, we just laugh at me together. Since no other mom warned me, I am warning you and going to provide some tips on how I am surviving the Senior Year Blues.
Plan a Trip: My husband and I have a trip planned with another couple in September to hike Kilimanjaro. This will keep me busy a month after his is in college to not get too sad. It also gives me something to look forward to during the next few months instead of just focusing on him being gone.
Letting him make more decisions: He pretty much makes all of his decisions now and is learning the consequences of each one both positive and negative. What I found out was the less I tried to control his choices, the more he actually asked for my advice and the conversations were more open and two way.
Having him cook dinner once a week: This has multiple benefits. The first is that it’s preparing him to be able to cook when he is out of the house. Second, it gives us time together when he is off doing his own thing most days for us to catch up and have some quality time together.
Being OK when I need to cry: We can beat ourselves up sometimes for being emotional but there is no reason. I should cry. It’s a big transition and I love him. Give yourself permission to be emotional.
Thinking through any last-minute lessons I want to teach him: Some are important like creating and sticking to a budget or filling out his own forms at the Dr.’s office. Others are sharing stories about some of the struggles I have gone through in life and how I dealt with them.
Remembering he will always be my baby boy: Yes, his now 6 feet tall but he will always be my baby boy and I will always be his mom no matter where he lives.
For those of you that aren’t going through this right now but know someone that will be soon, please don’t say the same thing I have heard over and over.... “Well at least you have 4 more kids after him.” This upsets me every time. There is only one of him. I have a feeling that this is something I will go through with as much emotion 4 more times. Instead just say “I am sure it’s hard.” It’s as simple as that.
So fellow moms you are officially warned. Senior Blues are hard, but we will survive and move onto the next phase of motherhood. I am confident it will be just as rewarding as the last 18 years. If you want to follow me for more tips and to see how I end up surviving this year check out @amyanncurran.com.