Author Topic: Commencement  (Read 1047 times)


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« on: May 22, 2015, 10:48:39 PM »
This week my eldest graduated from college.  A little back story:  when I met my husband, Jeff, he had a 7 year old he had shared custody of.  It quickly became clear to me that he was the primary parent which was daunting to me as at 24.  Right away I loved this child, even though I hadn't ever really thought of being a mom or having a family.  We spent a lot of time together, early on I discovered she loved art, so we went to museums together, watched silly movies, found our common ground.  Her biological mother became less and less a presence in her life.

Flash forward to Jeff's untimely death, I was faced with the decision to officially become the legal guardian of this sweet girl.  There was a bit of scuffle with the bio mom, but I had the full support of my family and Jeff's, and the judge ruled in my favor. At 14, my dear M dealt with all that and became the most dedicated high school student you've ever seen.  In her senior year, she applied for and received a very coveted scholarship at a prestigious  art school.  Each year she had to defend and prove her scholarship, which she did, and then some.  Every summer since high school, she worked at an internship at the museum in our small town.

So this past week, M graduated from this college.  My dear MIL flew out from the east coast to attend the event, and we took part in all the elements of that, we took a special bus all over the SF Bay Area to view art installations, see short films and take part in the actual commencement.  It was lovely, all of it. 

The part that was so challenging for me was seeing all the parents taking part in their kids' success.  Even at almost 8 years out, and being the veteran of preschool, elementary school, high school graduations, I felt?wistful witnessing all the proud parents.  Not hate, not envy, just wistful.  Of course we never know what anyone else goes through in life, but just missing Jeff during this milestone.  He'd be so proud of our big girl.  My MIL and I were invited to a celebratory dinner with the parents of M's roommate, it was great, and the parents were so kind and generous.  Still, those feelings of missing Jeff crept in.  When does this end?  My youngest is 8; will I still be going through this in 12 years when she graduates (I hope!) from college?  When do we just accept this and see things as they are.

So we're back home, my MIL and me.  She'll stay for a few weeks as the younger kids end their school year and we all celebrate our May/June birthdays.  M will be coming home for the summer - she still has her museum job and will fill in with working as a barista at a local coffee shop.  In the fall, there's a part time job waiting for her at the college she just graduated from, and she's secured a room in a shared household.  All good stuff, but I'm sad it's the last summer at "home".
"I'm breaking through, I'm bending spoons, I'm keeping flowers in full bloom" - REM


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Re: Commencement
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2015, 10:58:04 PM »
Hugs to this amazing juncture for your daughter.  You've raised a fine young woman and encouraged her to pursue her dreams.  I'm sorry her dad isn't there to see her shine at her graduation.  I'm sure she is a wonderful role model to her little sister, too!

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

Empathy  Developer  Responsibility  Adaptability Connectedness


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Re: Commencement
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2015, 01:50:44 AM »
Congratulations to M and you both.  What an amazing milestone; I'm sorry you didn't have Jeff there too.  Your love for her comes through so clearly in what you've shared with us.  Big big hugs... 


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Re: Commencement
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2015, 08:40:47 AM »
Logging in just to say that this was a beautiful story, calimom, thank you for sharing.  Your daughter sounds like an accomplished young woman.  You are both lucky to have each other -I am glad your DH brought you together.  I can totally get the feeling of wistfulness at commencement - it is just not right, that absence.  ((calimom))


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Re: Commencement
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 12:34:59 PM »
Good job to both of you reaching this milestone and it's so amazing that you had the wherewithal and support to take on the role that you did in her life.

Wistful is exactly the right word, thank you for finding it. Envy would mean that it would be positive if others didn't have it either, this isn't the case here. It's looking at these events and knowing that we have no one who shares a telepathic joy at being there, no one is quite as committed as we are. And the child doesn't have the chance to have double the number of kudos. It's great that your MIL came out though. That was lovely. I hope you continued to have a great time together.