Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Emotions High When Saying Bye for College

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Emotions High When Saying Bye for College

Article excerpt

Byline: Elizabeth Seney

It's easy to tell it's May in North Florida. Puffy eyes and runny noses are everywhere. Allergies are definitely to blame for a share of the weepy motorists you see blowing their noses at stoplights, but I believe the main cause is graduation.

My second child will graduate from high school this weekend. You would think that because I have been down this road before and because I have one left at home, I would be handling this milestone better. I'm not. I've been shaking off tears ever since his graduation cap and gown entered the house. That was a month ago.

I'm not an overly emotional person. And I've never been a big fan of all of the "graduations" leading up to this one. During my kids' preschool "graduations," I sat in the back pew of the church dodging moms and dads shouldering video cameras hoisted on their shoulders like missile launchers. (This was before technology inserted them into cell phones.) I was equally unmoved when they "graduated" from elementary school, unlike some parents who paid who knows how much to have their 11-year-olds chauffeured home in limos. I only made it to one of my kids' middle school "graduations."

But high school graduation is different for me. It's the real deal. Watching these now-legal adults in cap and gown, posing for pictures with their arms around the friends they have had since first grade tears me up. Already my mind is fast-forwarding to the end of the summer, when I will drop him off at college with one last quick hug so he doesn't see the beginning of my breakdown that will last most of the two-hour drive home.

"One of the most emotionally laden moments for any parent -- one filled with excitement and anticipation, yet a profound sense of loss -- is bidding a child goodbye for college," Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt wrote in The Launching Years. "Although we know intellectually that our children will eventually grow up and be on their own, no one can really prepare us for the feelings of the last few days together, let alone the vulnerable moment when they walk away. …

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