A lot of people have been asking me how I’m handling the fact that our oldest child is graduating high school tomorrow. Remarkably, I think I’m actually doing quite well with this. I’ve been thinking about my keys for holding it together, and it basically boils down to three fundamentals:
I’ll break these down step by step to provide a little more clarity.
First, you want to do whatever you can to ignore the fact that this momentous day is coming. Don’t think about it any more than absolutely necessary. When you see e-mails in your inbox with subject lines like, “IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT GRADUATION” just gloss over them only focusing on the essential information you absolutely need for that day.
I have found that starting a new job is a good way to divert your attention. You also could start a new hobby. I highly recommend obsessive watercolor painting. Spending every spare moment doing watercolor tutorials can help distract you from thinking about the inevitable.
Getting extremely sick the week of graduation also was a big help. A high fever allowed me to sleep for several days without having to spend too much time in a conscious state that might cause me to think too much about reality.
Another helpful tip is to avoid anything that might trigger a deep emotional response:
- DO NOT dig through old photos creating a timeline of the first day of school for each of the last 18 years.
- DO NOT take your child for photo shoots in front of their kindergarten.
- And the last thing to avoid at all costs, is inadvertently driving past any landmarks that trigger deep sentimental feelings about all of the fun you had when they were growing up. Just to be safe, avoid all parks, nature centers, forest preserves, bike trails, or even stores. That car-themed shopping cart at Home Depot is a definite NO! (STAY INSIDE!)
Finally, if you start getting emotional, suppress those feelings. Don’t spend too much time looking back at what a wonderful life you’ve had together or what a fantastic person your child has become. I promise, you will break down into an ugly cry that could go on for days. Stuff it. Lock it. Don’t go there.
Read a book. See a movie. Start a Netflix binge. But whatever you do, don’t start down an emotionally-charged path that could hold you hostage for days!
As you can see, I’m clearly handling all of this in a very healthy and mature way. I think the techniques I’ve suggested will work for anyone facing the reality of graduation day.
Seriously though, I basically feel like I’m on a roller coaster, and all I can do is hold on. I can’t make it stop or slow down. We’re almost to the top of the biggest hill, and we will come flying down tomorrow.
Hold on tight! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!