Coffee Talk: Graduation Edition

Well, it’s official. I have a high school graduate.

I’ve been half-anticipating and half-dreading this moment for, well… it seems like years.

I have this vivid memory of a day about four years ago when I was driving along (I do my best thinking when I’m alone in my car or running) and it hit me that my son was a freshman in high school, and that meant that I only had four years left with him.

That probably sounds silly — I mean, four years is quite a long time, right? But for whatever reason, that is the moment in my parenting journey that I realized I won’t have my kids at home forever.

It’s hard to explain, but at that moment driving along in the car, I literally felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. It was a physical feeling that has never quite left me, and I feel like I’ve been in count-down mode ever since.

You know how it is. When the kids are young and you’re in the trenches, parenting is all-consuming. It’s hard to see anything besides the exact stage(s) you’re in. You feel me, right?

But then there’s that moment when you poke your head up out of the water, come out of the fog, and realize there is life on the other side of your child-rearing years.

And don’t get me wrong. I know that the next stage is going to be incredibly wonderful, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve watched friends and family members who are ahead of me in this parenting journey. I’ve seen their family dynamics change, watched their kids get older and become adults and bring home husbands and wives and eventually children, and I can see how much joy that brings to the entire family.

Plus having more time to spend with Paul, to travel, do my fashion blogging thing… that all seems very appealing to me too. Of course, I still have two kids at home, so those days of freedom are still ahead of me, but I know they’ll be here before I know it.

On Tuesday, D starts working as a camp counselor for five weeks. I won’t be seeing much of him this summer, and then the next thing I know, it will be time to send him off to college. I guess that is life’s way of getting me ready???

I’m excited for the next phase of having a child in college, but I can’t help but feel a little melancholy as I say good-bye to the end of an era. That said, I didn’t feel very emotional this weekend. I guess I was too busy, and D wasn’t emotional so that didn’t trigger my waterworks. I’m sure there will be a moment where it all hits me — likely when I leave him at college for the first time — but for now, I’m feeling pretty chill about everything.

I guess I’m ready. I’ve been preparing myself for months, and he’s ready to move on, so I can let him go knowing he’s happy and doing what he wants to do.

Meanwhile, I have a house to pack up and move. As I was saying good-bye to our friends who came out for D’s graduation party yesterday, I realized that was our last hurrah, so to speak. We won’t be hosting another gathering in this house.

As Paul and I were cleaning up last night and hand-washing platters, I told him not to even bother putting them away. I’ll just pack them up and put the boxes aside for the move. Once I get D off to camp on Tuesday, it’s go-time. The next few weeks will be full of packing, purging, and moving.

We have five weeks before moving day, but only three before we close on the new house and can start moving things over. It sounds like a lot of time in some ways, but I know it’s going to fly. Twelve years is a lot to pack up in five weeks.

As for today, it’s another rainy Sunday… you just gotta laugh at this point! And I’m so grateful for the nice weather we had for graduation on Friday night and the party yesterday that I really can’t complain.

We’ll go to church, and then we have reservations for brunch afterwards with my parents. After that, I most certainly plan to get a nap! I’ve earned it.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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60 Responses

  1. Your post today could have been written by me two years ago when my son graduated. I had the same feelings of melancholy mixed with excitement for him, not tears and sadness. I truly do think we are prepared along the way to let them go, just a little at a time, to be who we’ve cultivated and hoped for them to be. Two years into his college journey and now I have to prepare for his sister’s senior year next school year! It does go so fast doesn’t it? Best of luck as you start packing up the house and moving ahead yourself! Exciting times ahead! 

  2. I still remember the day we dropped off our first born at UNC. I think my husband took it worse than I did. Fortunately she was only 2 1/5 hours away so we got to see her often. Now she’s married for 15 years and 7 hours away and I miss her all the time!

  3. Congratulations mom!  When the last of our 4 graduated (he’s now almost 25), I felt like my husband and I had also achieved a huge milestone!  A wise pastor once told me, “Babies are so adorable when they are little, otherwise we would never survive…and teenagers are so obnoxious so we are ready for them to move on!”  Enjoy yours and David’s accomplishments, then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labors in raising a fine young man.  

    1. Haha, that is so true. I do love him, but it’s time for him to spread his wings. I’m happy for him – that he’s excited about where he’s headed, and that he won’t be too far away. I doubt he’ll come home much, but knowing that I CAN see him if I really want to is comforting.

  4. Congratulations!! I completely understand. My daughter graduated 4 yrs ago and is now married. My son is going into his junior year and my baby girl is going into high school. Time is just ticking away. Having a son in law now does add and extra element of joy and I’m just learning to trust God with each and every step and season and do my best to focus on each day as it comes and enjoy each day to fullest. Blessings and happy Sunday! 

  5. Jo Lynne,  congratulations on your son graduating!  What a blessing!  Both of my kids have graduated college, moved away, gotten married and I have two grandsons (the best part).  I miss them all the time, but I’m trying  to embrace and enjoy each season.  My husband and I are also moving into a new house after living in one for 26 years.  I think we are crazy!!  God bless you during all of this. ❤️. P.S.  I feel like I know you because of your blog!  I love it!

    1. That sounds very exciting! I’ve learned that people have all kinds of preconceived ideas of when it does (and does not) make sense to move, but if it’s what you want, then the time is right — even if it seems unconventional. I hope your move goes well!

  6. Congratulations to your son and I have to mention I truly look forward and enjoy your posts every morning ! My best friend Geri introduced to you a few months ago and I could not thank her enough. I am a Mammographer who works in a hospital wearing scrubs everyday for 25 years plus and I am always asking what to wear, what’s in, what looks good and you help me in soooo many ways!! I thank you and appreciate you . Best of luck in the upcoming months for you 
    Gina D

  7. Hi, my second child graduated from college last month in Georgia (we live in Texas) and this weekend we have moved her to Nashville for her first job as an RN. I was just like you: didn’t cry at high school graduation, but was quite teary when I left her at college. That was nothing compared to what I am going through this weekend, moving her away “for real”! Her bedroom at home is completely empty: she has brought her cat and dog with her, so we will go home to our 13 yr old dog who will be the only pet now for the first time ever. My momma heart is breaking and bursting with pride all at the same time. The waterworks started the day or so before we left. I am trying to hold it together for my daughter’s sake. I know that when she drops us at the airport to fly back to Texas, I will cry like a baby. If not then, I surely will when I walk in the house when we get back home. I think the silence will be deafening, even though her younger brother is still home. He will be a senior, so I get to do another version of this in a year! I also have an older son who already moved out, but he lives in our town and we see him often. I think I am feeling all this even more keenly because she is my daughter. Thanks for letting me put this novella here! 🙂 thinking of you and all other moms going through this season!

    1. That does sound hard. My son, I love him to pieces, but he’s not very chatty. 🙂 I don’t think I’ll feel the hole like I will when the girls move on. I dread that day! ((hugs)) to you!

  8. Thank goodness for texting. Except I always have to remind myself to pull back on that also. Congrats to your son!

    1. Yeah, he won’t appreciate me texting him all the time. He rarely answers as it is… we may have to have a talk about that. I’m still paying the phone bill, after all. Haha!

  9. I always enjoy your coffee talk. I pour myself a second cup of coffee ( an indulgence, since I am trying to limit my caffeine intake 😊)
    We have seven kids, three who are grownups now; our fourth is about to graduate from high school, so I have been through this bittersweet process a few times. It’s exciting and scary to see them going off into the world, but I am used to it now. However, I have to confess that every day when the ” baby”(she is 14) heads off to school I get a bit of a stomach ache and tear up… time is moving too fast…

  10. Congratulations to you son! I have to mention I truly enjoy you posts every morning! My best friend Geri introduced me to your site a few months ago and I just enjoy it ! I am a Mammographer and I work in a hospital for 25 years plus wearing a uniform .  I always  have questions what to wear, what’s in, how to put things together in a classic yet trendy way and you really help me in every way. THANK YOU ! Best of luck with your upcoming months with you family! Enjoy the summer 

  11. Congrats to you and Paul. You’re children seem very nice and kind, which means you’re doing a great job. I don’t know exactly how you feel as my son just finished 3rd grade. I look at him everyday and wonder where the time went. I was just in the trenches with him and couldn’t see out like you said!!  Now we are going into 4th grade. I only have 9 summers to make memories before he goes to college. It sounds like a long time, but the first nine flew by and time is now speeding up. The next nine I will blink and it will be gone. You’re fortunate to have two more at home still. Good luck on packing, we always have more than we think. Lol. 

    1. Isn’t it funny how we can feel sentimental about every stage? I guess it’s because they all have their highlights. 🙂 I’ve enjoyed them all… except possibly potty training. I wouldn’t relive that for a second. Ha!

  12. Good morning Jo-Lynne!  It’s great to read about how nice the weekend has been for y’all and that your emotions remained under control.  Since I don’t have any children of my own, I have no way of understanding all of the emotions you are dealing with.  From age 21 – 59, I lived in the same house, with the exception of one and a half years when Larry & I lived in the house he owned.  While in that one home, I went through a lot of big life events, so when it was time for Larry and I to sell the house and move down to the country, there were so many emotions deep down to the core.  That was one of the times I was grateful to have a personality that just grabs the bull by the horns, do what has to be done, and move on.  There are a lot of exciting days ahead for your family.  I know that you will embrace them and savor every minute.  God bless!

    1. I think I have that same personality, Ginger. At times, I’m sad to leave the memories we made here, but I know I’ll take them with me to the next place, and everything will continue to chug along on this track called life. 🙂

  13. What a nice picture David sure looks like his dad. Will you be sharing what you wore? Glad to hear everything went smoothly and just because there’s no waterworks yet doesn’t mean there won’t be or you won’t miss him:) it’s nice that you will still have two home.  I thought your romper you styled was cute. My daughter 24 bought a plan black one in Florida so is there an age to it? I don’t know. And you look nice in yours. It’s difficult sometimes when I feel like I’m choosing to  wear what my 24 year old is wearing lol oh well .
    Hope you get some down time today:)

  14. Congratulations to your son and to you and your husband! We found this summer after senior year of high school to be a challenge as there are so many emotions from the whole family; don’t forget about making space to listen to your girls and how they feel about their brother moving away. I found September to be a beast–grieving what was for this new normal. Leaning on girlfriends was how I coped, friends who were going through it at the same time and we could share our grief, and friends who were ahead of me and could show me the path to dealing with my feelings and being able to move on to this new stage of relating to your child as a young adult and moving forward with your own life, finding new interests or giving more time to things you already enjoy. Give yourself grace and time; pray a lot. And before you know it, it will be Thanksgiving, your son will come home, and you will be astonished at his growth. Having him come and go will be this next stage of life, home for holiday visits, maybe home the summer after freshman year, in and out, so many “hellos” and “goodbyes,” really, from this moment onward as your son grows toward complete independence. Sorrows and joys for your Mother’s heart. Trust that you and your husband have done a wonderful job parenting your son. You have prepared him well for this next phase of his life. Now, it is up to him to put those 18 years of learning into deciding what kind of man he wants to be. Of course you will still be there for him, supporting him, loving him, offering advice if he asks for it, but truly, it is up to him now. I feel for you! Our older 3 have moved through this stage, and our youngest will be a senior next year. Take heart that all of us mamas survive!!
    I have recently found a blog—“Grown and Flown”— that resonates with how I feel, and reading it has helped.

  15. Jo-Lynne please know that I am praying for you as you go through this new season of life with your son graduating. I have had two children graduate and go to college. They have since grown up and have their own families now. Grandchildren are just the best thing ever!!  But is was difficult when they went to college. I cried all the way home. I will tell you in time it does get better. 
    Have a blessed day!!!!

  16. Except for the moving, I could have written these words.  You said it perfectly. A hug for you. 
    Congratulations again. So glad all went well 

  17. Beautiful picture of you guys!! Congratulations to David for his wonderful accomplishment and Congratulations to his parents for all of their hard work and success in raising a fine young man!!

  18. Congratulations to your family! My son starts high school in the fall. I can’t believe that I will only have him home for 4 more years. Like you, I have 2 younger daughters, but still it is bittersweet to watch my oldest grow up so fast. I know these next 4 years will go by in a flash.

  19. Congrats! Such an exciting time for all of you!  We actually have all four of our kids graduating -one from law school, nursing school, Kutzown for sports management and our youngest from high school heading to Pitt! I’m still processing it all and just hope we gave the right tools to our kids to navigate this thing called adulthood!!

  20. Well said. Every situation is different but seems good in its own way. Being busy has helped I’m sure.

  21. Congratulations to you and your son.! As a mom with 2 high school graduates in the past 3 years I can tell you that it gets easier and better. For me, at least, the idea of my son not being in our house was much worse than the reality when he did leave. It’s been amazing to watch him grow & mature and see my “baby” as a true young adult. It also gave me some time with my daughter before she is ready to fly this fall. I will fully admit that I have had a few ugly cries during this process, but it’s also very exciting and fulfilling to see years of parenting and hard work reaching this next stage of life.

    1. I was thinking that he’s been gone so much this year that it probably won’t feel all that strange. Plus, I know from having him gone at camp, that knowing he is happy where he is makes it not seem so sad for him not to be here. 🙂 Hoping college feels much the same.

  22. Congratulations on your son’s graduation! I’ve been where you are. After sending your child off to college, you’ll cherish those days back home all the more! Experiencing our children grow up is bittersweet! 

  23. Congrats on the graduation! The next 2 will be easier!! Have a relaxing Sunday and be ready for exciting days ahead!

  24. Congrats!!! and I’m sorry. It must be such a mixed bag of excitement and apprehension about him leaving for college in a few short months. My son just finished 9th grade and I’m painfully aware of how quickly the time is flying past. Any suggestions about the college search. That’s next on the table for us.

    1. Hey Julie, I actually hired someone to guide us through it. She made it SO easy. I see that you are local, so if you’d like her info, drop me an email and I can forward it to you.

  25. Congratulations on surviving a senior.  As life changes we have so many feelings – my children are now grown with children of their own and there is still a hollow feeling in my gut when they leave after a visit!  My husband and I travel and enjoy retirement but my memories of children growing up never fade – just look forward to the grands and their visits now! Family is everything – enjoy every minute you have with them (even the eye rolling times😍)

  26. Jo-Lynne-
    Congratulations on the graduation of your son!  Your post today has touched my heart in many ways. I remember when my two graduates left home going to college. My daughter first (cried all the way home and would find myself sitting in her bedroom hugging a stuffed animal) and two years later, my son. It wasn’t too bad, got better with time as they were only 2 hours away. I knew I could visit some, and they did come home some. After dating his high school sweetheart for over 10 years, my son got married last Saturday. Talk about emotions!  I have cried for over 2 weeks. Not so much about the marriage (couldn’t ask for a sweeter DIL), but that slideshow!!!  They got back from their honeymoon Friday night and left early yesterday going to San Antonio, where she will begin work tomorrow. They are about 800 miles away from us now. My heart is aching. I know it will get easier, but for now……  I’m praying a lot and trying to realize that this is truly what I was meant to do. Raise them up and send them out to change the world in their own way.  But, did it have to be so far away????? Ha!  I’ll be praying for you. Just wait till he gets married!! 😉

  27. Congratulations on your son’s graduation!! It is a new and special time for your family!!

  28. With all the comments I think it’s all well covered.  🙂 lol Just have to say your blog summary of how you have felt etc was spot on. I too have those same thoughts when alone driving etc. Its a mama thing. You will do it through all stages. Glad all went well this weekend. Hope you are napping now. 🙂 

  29. Everyone’s comments hit the nail on the head so let me just say, I’m praying for you Mama! Every stage is truly a blessing, even the hard ones. Just thank God for the past memories and the gift of the present for the present is truly a gift not to be taken for granted. Fathers Day is next celebration, just another special day to embrace your loved ones and make memories memories! 

  30. Beautiful post!  

    Our experience—it seems—is different than most these days: our kids have/are currently attending our alma mater, which is local, and they commute.  But so many of my friends have experienced this transition exactly as you have so beautifully expressed.   

    Best to you all!

  31. Congrats again to your graduate! I know you’re so proud. That is such a fantastic photo of you all too!

  32. We are in the same boat. We had college orientation yesterday. There are times I wanted to start bawling, yet so excited for his next phase in life. The entire process was a bit overwhelming and my confident, sometimes cocky 18 yr old admitted it made him more nervous than he had been. I think he will love it, though. Good luck–to all of you, and congrats to your son!

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