18 Signs Your Kid Is Graduating and Leaving the Nest and You're Totally Losing It
If you're like me, you never paid much attention to senior year hoopla until you realized that this is the year that will adorn your child's tassel charm on their high school graduation cap.
Now that you've accepted the reality, you're probably wandering around in a complex emotional state that ranges from pride to panic. And all the while you're utterly perplexed by how fast the time has gone by.
Hang in there—you're not alone, and you're not crazy.
But in case you're not convinced, here's a checklist of 18 common traits that mark every parent's journey through the temporary insanity during this season of life from senior year to college drop-off. (Check all that apply)
- You've turning into mom-parazzi—obsessed with taking photos and videos of your child throughout senior year because you're haunted by the fact that you haven't actually completed a photo album since their first year of life.
- You suddenly feel guilty for EVER missing one of their sporting events and have vowed to attend EVERY SINGLE game this spring—even the "away" games. (Even the far away games.)
- You contemplate setting things on fire while trying to navigate the online FASFA process (a.k.a. the eighth circle of hell).
- You're fanatically savoring their "lasts"—their last Easter at home, last prom, last practice, last game, last band concert, and their last awards banquet.
- There's a box of graduation announcements sitting on the dining room table, but You. Can't. Even. Go. There.
- You've become that person who wistfully advises parents of young children to enjoy every moment because it goes by so very, very fast.
- You stare at the atrocity of their bedroom, deeply concerned for their lack of laundry competence but secretly thrilled that they'll soon have to face this challenge on their own.
- You start panicking and make a list of essential life skills you still need to teach them.
- You torment yourself by starting a mental countdown of the weeks and days until they leave as if it's an execution date or something equally grim.
- You get super-clingly and follow your kid around the house, asking to hang out every waking moment of the day.
- You find yourself lurking in a dark corner of their bedroom, watching them sleep.
- You take some stealth measurements of their bedroom and wonder how long you need to wait after they leave before it's OK to turn it into a home gym.
- You find that random things make you burst into tears: childhood photos, a stack of empty boxes and packing tape outside their room, their dirty cereal bowl left on the counter...the first glance at their tuition bill.
- You stalk your kid's future college roommate on social media, trying to determine if there's any possibility this space-sharing stranger could be a sex-crazed, shoplifting, nocturnal, meth-cooking psychopath with poor hygiene or bad study habits.
- Your nesting instinct goes into overdrive, and you realize you've spent more on dorm room essentials than on an entire semester of college room and board.
- You appear somewhat unstable while emphatically trying to convince your eye-rolling college student that they will certainly need such dorm essentials as a day planner, umbrella, rain boots, sewing kit, and that armchair-backrest pillow thingy that's existed for decades.
- You go through an entire box of tissues one night while looking through decades of old photos—including ones from your old college days—and wonder how all of these glorious years went by so fast and how you could possibly be this old.
- You suddenly realize the age you somehow thought you still were is the age your kids has now become.
If you checked four or more of the signs for the list, welcome to the club. You're finally beginning to embrace the journey of truly letting go.
And though it may feel as if sending your young adult off to college or out into the world is the final curtain call of parenthood, I promise you that it's not.
This time is not just about a season that's ending; it's about a new season that's just beginning.
For them, and for you as well.
Just keep reminding yourself that, for everyone, the best is yet to come.
This quiz is from Release My Grip a book by Kami Gilmour to give home to parents who's kids are leaving the nest and learning to fly. Get a copy for you and your friends and find healing and purpose in this next season of life.