An Emotional Survival Guide for Graduation

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emotional survival guide to graduation

My youngest child, Ryan, will be graduating from high school in a few weeks, and as any mama who’s been through high school graduation knows, the thought of your child wearing a cap and gown brings up all kinds of feelings and a great big lump in the throat.

The good news is that I’ve been through this before with my daughter Allison, so I KNOW I WILL SURVIVE! For those of you who are new to this, I thought I’d share some tips to help you not just survive, but to THRIVE during this emotional time.

an emotional survival guide for graduation

Bobi Beach Pant | Kut from the Cloth White Denim Jacket | Tie Tank Top |Sam Edelman Sandals

Tip #1:

Make time together you top priority. This is your time to drop everything and do anything your child wants to do. I’ve been practicing with Ryan the last couple of months and it’s been really fun to say YES, YES, YES to his requests.

Since he’s a teenage boy his requests typically revolve around food.

A late-night request to get milk shakes together? I haven’t done it since college, but YES, YES, YES.

A dinner date at our kitchen table eating dinner from his favorite fast food restaurant?  Gross, but  YES, YES, YES!

All-you-can-eat steak at a Brazilian steak house in the city? Not my first choice for a restaurant, but YES, YES, YES.

I might gain a few extra pounds from all of my YESES, but I’m okay with it. I’ll have all the time in the world to eat what I want next year, but I’ll never get this time back with my son.

My advice: Loosen up for a couple months, go out for ice cream, make the indulgent dinner at his request. You’ve been saying no for 18 years, now is your time to say YES, YES, YES.

black knotted tank with striped pants

Bobi Tie Front Tank | Bobi Breezy Beach Pants

Tip #2:

Go on a special trip, just the two of you. No matter your budget, plan a special 24 hours and do something that your child wants to do together. A couple of months ago, I asked Ryan to think about what he’d want to do with me if we had 24 hours together. After thinking about it for a few days, he told me he wanted to go to Chicago to see the musical Hamilton (he’s a musician and a huge history buff). Of course I swallowed hard as I thought about the expense. Do I dare spoil him with something so extravagant? After thinking about it for a few days (and selling some shoes, clothes and even a bed online to make me feel better about the ridiculous expense), I said YES and our 24-hour trip to Chicago together was one of the highlights of my life.

My advice: Even if you have to get really creative to pay for a special 24 hours together, try to do it if you can—you’ll never regret that time together, I promise.

letting go at graduation

Tip #3:

Okay this is a hard one for us mamas to swallow, but GRADUATION IS NOT ABOUT US! These days, I have to remind myself over and over again that graduation season is not about how I feel about the situation or about my weepy celebration of all of his lasts. Instead, it’s a time to celebrate all he has accomplished so far and to celebrate all of the good the things that are ahead. You better believe I’ll be wearing sunglasses to his graduation to cover my red and puffy eyes, but when the tears start to flow in front of him, they’ll be mixed with big smiles, loud cheering and lots of high-fives too.

To all of you mamas embarking on graduation season, I love you and I’m right there with you trying hard to let go and stay strong. Put your sunglasses on and GO GET ‘EM. If I can do this, I promise you can do it too.

Megan’s Outfit Details

Tie Front Tank | White Denim Jacket | Bobi Beach Pants | Sam Edelman Sandals

Blog Comments

Thank you for sharing it will come in handy it’s nice to be able to connect on an emotional level with thoughts only you think you have

Congratulation Megan on Ryan’s Graduation ! (مبروك) in Arabic means congrats ….I am a mom of two beautiful girls both now in college related to you and agree to enjoy the moment with them as much as possible .

We do love Brazilian steak buffet too and I am glad your special trip was to visit Chicago !

We would love to see you at our Evereve burr ridge soon

Rae Alkharrat

I got teary eyed reading this!1 Reminded me of when my son went to college! Thank you for sharing!!

I’m surrounding by all the firsts and in the season of NOs 🙂 but I already feel the pit of emotion for the graduations to come 16+ years ahead. I’ll take all the advice and support I can get from here on out because…oooomph. Seeing my babies graduate will rock my world. Congratulations to you – – and you’re very lucky to have such great pictures with your teenage son!! 🙂

As a mom of two teenage boys, one just finishing his first year of high school, Thank you for this! ❤ It seems the older they get, the faster the milestones come and then *poof* they’re gone. Sometimes we need reminders to stop and just be in the moment. Like they say, Life moves pretty fast… 😉

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