Should I have pushed more? Harder? To make them stay in an institution that made them miserable? After they both reached 16 years old there wasn’t much I could do. By law they could decide themselves. With my daughter they tried to use the ruler test example to encourage her to stay in school. Here’s where you are….and here’s how much longer you have….you are almost done. With my son, there was no begging him to stay, no ruler example, just a calm direction from the principle “School isn’t for every student”.
Last year I went to the graduation of a young man who had been in my daycare since he was three years old. Anyone seated next to me would have thought I was his mother, the tears poured down my chubby cheeks like water works. My son sat next to me with his arm around my shoulders, exclaiming, “Mom, some day I will graduate from college”. I am proud of his accomplishing a scholarship level GED at our local college last spring. But it doesn’t smooth the grief I have that I’ll never sit for either him or his sister to graduate from high school.
In my day, was there an option of dropping out? If there was I didn’t know about it. The ultimate goal for me was to graduate and get out of Dodge (Rawlins, Wyoming). Get me out of here, away, explore and discover the world. I was an average student and a flourishing art geek, attending college was a dream come true. It did take two institution and moving away from home to get my degree, but those were the best four years of learning.
I push now, too late maybe, but anguish over my daughter’s choice to not complete her GED……she needs a tutor and math tutor, one more test and she’ll have her GED from the college. She bounces from job to job, each one offering her a challenge at first, then soon she grows weary of the attitudes, laziness, and apathetic behaviors of those she works with or for. Every evening its another opportunity for discussion and direction from me to encourage her to return to school. “What is the solution to your situation?” I ask her. “What can you do to make your own life better?” I beg her. “I know Mom, I need to get back to school. But I need to work too.” And I tell her, You can do both.
There’s a depression of sorts when I receive another graduation announcement, and there’s a reservation about attending the celebration this month. My son should be in that parade of red gowns and caps walking in unison to receive a scroll of achievement. Can I attend another graduation without blubbering like a baby about my own kids never being in their own procession of accomplishments?
At nearly 23, my daughter is a woman, at 18 my son is a man, I can not tell them what to do. I must accept that I have given them the skills they need to make their own decisions and to succeed in their life. Do I miss the hoopla, the photo opportunities, the stuffing envelopes for mailing and the chance to have congrat’s from family for both of them…..sure. But for now I need to get past the notion that I am not in charge of their destiny. I have given them roots and wings, they are good people, and I am proud of them.