Monday, June 13, 2011

Beginning to Commence

There is a good reason they call these ceremonies "commencement exercises." Graduation is not the end; it's the beginning. ~Orrin Hatch

This past weekend was a mixed bag of emotions for me as I watched my first-born graduate from high school. I was excited and happy to visit my family and see Kyle embark on the next phase of his life. I was sad to realize how quickly these years have flown by, and had regrets about the choices I've made with regards to Kyle's upbringing. Mostly, I breathed a huge sigh at the end of this eventful weekend - a sigh that ended with a sense of worry and nervousness.

The weekend started with watching my family interact with my husband and two younger children. Also, I had a sense of satisfaction watching Kyle bond with his younger brother and sister. It melts my heart when Kyle holds Jane in his arms and she is a giggly wiggly ball of energy to have her big brother's undivided attention. Or to watch my dad and my aunt talk to Alex and read with him and laugh at the funny things he says and does. I even got to spend time with my niece Gabbie, who is only four days older than Jane. I love to see the new things she's learned to do since I saw her last in March.

Getting prepared for Kyle's graduation, I was a bundle of nerves. My mind kept replaying various events over the years - different milestones that Kyle has reached along the path of his life. As this is happening, I realize how old I feel, but am grateful that I have the ability to have this journey with my two younger children. At Kyle's graduation ceremony, I felt such an incredible sense of relief not unlike how I felt when I gave birth to him. My immediate thought was "thank God that's over with", followed by the realization that what just happened was the easy part when compared to what lies ahead. As I sat and listened to students speak about "putting forth your best" and "seizing every opportunity", I could not help but feel regret and sadness that Kyle has not done those things over the past four years. It made me wonder what is in store for him. I have these visions of what I would like his life to be like, but none of that really matters. What matters most is the road he chooses for himself.

In his graduation card, I wrote to Kyle that "the future is what you make of it", which I wholeheartedly believe. At his graduation party, everyone said their wish for Kyle - mostly that he lives a happy and healthy life. My wish for him was that he keeps learning new things and to challenge himself along the way. But I realize this is what I want him to do, not necessarily what he wants for himself. I have tried to come to grips with the fact that my wants for his future and what Kyle wants are not the same things. Acceptance of this is yet to come.

As we returned home from our visit, I was dead tired, and I felt like my mind could not handle even simple conversation or thoughts. It was too full with events from this past weekend mixed with sleep deprivation. But this morning is a new day - a new beginning for Kyle and for me.