Friday, May 15, 2009

Graduation celebrations

Today is a very special day. Our son, Jeff, earned his bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering! I want to do a happy dance. I want to celebrate with him, laugh, tell stories of his journey and look proudly upon him as he receives his diploma. But this will not happen as he has chosen not to "walk" (participate in graduation ceremonies).

This isn't unique to Jeff. Our daughter, Laura, did not walk when she graduated from UC Davis (with a BS Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior). She will complete her Master's degree in Public Health (MPH) in August and she will walk then - but only because it is a requirement of the school.

I can understand why people choose not to participate in college graduation ceremonies. I didn't walk when I received my bachelor's degree, neither did Jim. By the time students finish years of coursework, checks and double checks they have met all requirements, completed all the projects, and taken final exams, it is time to move on with life. Like Laura, they made me walk when I earned my MSW degree. They did not require Jim to walk for his MBA, so he didn't. I guess there wouldn't be any graduation ceremonies if it wasn't required.

The problem with not participating in graduation, is it denies family the opportunity to celebrate the achievement. Now that Jim and I have the perspective of being parents, not students, I see the benefit in walking. As parents of the students, we have much invested in our children's future and we feel like 'stakeholders" too. I want to shout from roof tops, Hallelujah - he did it!

I will miss not seeing Jeff walk across that stage - but I respect his decision and understand why he made it.

Up to now, I could fool myself into thinking that since my "baby" was still in college , I wasn't finished mothering. But I know I was just kidding myself. Our children are wonderful, giving, productive, members of society and they have their own lives. I acknowledge and celebrate that fact. I have done my job.
I am so very proud of of them!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to you and Jim on two amazing adult children!