‘Tis the season, again. Graduation season that is! Fortunately, this year our senior son got to participate in an in-person ceremony where last’s years Muench college graduate son had to watch a modified version from the comfort of our family room.
Maddux’s finish to high school was strange by all “normal” accounts of what senior year is supposed to look like. With the start of COVID last March he, like many other juniors, decided to take classes through the summer months and actually finished his credits in December. Maddux also made the choice to continue to stay home and attend virtually. As his mom I can say I’ve never seen him wear pajamas as much as he has in the last 15 months!
As for his post-graduation plans, they’ve also evolved over the course of the pandemic. We heard phases of “maybe I’ll take a gap year” and “I plan to study computer science” morph into “I’ll either attend ASU or UofA and I will be studying Psychology.” His shift in a desire to start college right away after high school and to change his major being attributed, in part, to seeing how much mental health has been neglected and a desire to participate in lessening the stigma and making an impact.
Maddux has been a good listener to many a friend during the last year, he’s decided it’s his calling to support his fellow humans this way. He also developed a strong desire to explore states other than Texas. Arizona was a natural choice as the last year has also brought him to love rock climbing.
With Maddux heading to Tucson in August, Tom and I are down to one kiddo at home. This seems crazy to think about as at one point (that feels not so long ago) we had a newborn and a seventeen-year-old with three in between running through the halls of our home.
Yes, it’s gotten quieter over the decades, but with the fourth one on the way to his next chapter I think the one he’s left behind wonders what life will be like as an only child. Our fifth being our only daughter I honestly think we are all feeling some trepidation.
Graduations are moments to celebrate the milestones of things accomplished and to look towards a new chapter. For parents it can be a time to be inspired by their sons and daughters’ accomplishments and pat themselves on the back for helping them take the next step into adulthood.
No matter what path is decided post high school, know that every child doesn’t take a straight path to their personal success, and success for each child looks different. I say this as a 52-year-old woman who now coaches parents but who started her parenting journey as an 18-year-old college freshman dropout whose parents wondered how she’d survive on her own.
There will be all sorts of ways our children grow into their self-prescribed potential. Our role is to support, encourage, guide, and listen more than we speak as they move along their path.