My 18-year-old son is graduating from high school on Saturday, and he'll be attending the University of Northern Colorado in the fall. In between he'll go to Peru with his Spanish teacher and some of the other students in his class.
When I mentioned his graduation in a Liz Ryan Career Altitude workshop yesterday (more on that in another post), one of the other participants said, "Congratulations on your graduation, too!"
Gulp. I hadn't thought of it this way. You see, it's mostly been all about him and my other son.
As big a transition as this is for him, it's big for me, too. Having only ever worked part-time since he was born, and then staying home for the last ten years to raise him and my other son, I've devoted more of my time and energy--not to mention my sense of self--to raising them than the average bear. Some might say I'm a fool. I say it's only proper that I did it this way.
As uncertain a time as this is for me, I'm finding that there's something else underlying it--pride in a job well-done. Joy, too, much to my surprise. That in itself may be my biggest accomplishment. Because during these years of staying at home I knew what some people think about stay-at-home moms--we're a spoiled, lazy, unambitious lot. All too often I bought into that, self-critical critter that I am. I often wondered if this was as good as it was going to get for me.
It's not like I've been monitoring the soap opera chat rooms--not that there's anything wrong with that. The thing is, I've had a job for the last ten years, and I daresay it's one that would have driven a lot of other people completely crazy. (Since I went into this enterprise already halfway there, I'm proud to say my sanity is as intact as it ever was.) Not everyone can keep house, run a small-scale cookie factory, juggle several volunteer jobs, care for the neighbor's macaw when they're in Scandinavia, bake a killer loaf of challah bread, write one of the two novels I worked on in the last decade, and cook wholesome dinners every night. And this would be what I did in a day, twisting and turning time to suit the peculiar rhythms of a housewife's day.
So now that my time as the main keeper of the hearth turns into something else, I'm going to allow myself to be proud of the fact that it's all been worth it. My 18-year-old is a caring, talented young man. I've still got my twelve-year-old at home. I figure he'll be my little boy for another few months, until the puberty fairy comes to visit.
To those of you in transition, I wish you the same pride in accomplishment.