May has always been a hard month for me. This year is no different. I think it’s because it is a time of transitions, endings, and beginnings, with old routines and comfortable schedules ending, and new patterns emerging – some of them far from home. Anticipation of the “next step” can be felt as early as this weekend and some anxiety hovers there as well if we are honest about it. Each will continue being felt by the students and their families well into the fall when a return to the high school no longer takes place.
I just saw a clip on Facebook of our high school’s senior graduating class parading through the halls of the high school for the last time. Today was the last day of school for our seniors. During the parade, many had on their caps and gowns that they will don officially for graduation this Saturday. A few did not. Many had National Honor Society bibs worn over their gowns. Many more did not. Many were jubilant with happiness easily visible on their smiling faces. Although, a few students might have looked sad or, unsure. And, a few of the soon-to-be graduates even might have looked scared. It was a parade of human emotion racing through the halls for all to see. I’m sure it’s not visible to most. Parents and friends that are watching look for faces they know not the reactions they might see.
I think we’d do well, as we celebrate the achievements of those finishing their high school careers locally this weekend and in the coming weeks around the country, to keep in mind that not all are elated about this milestone. It signals a change in their lives. Some will continue to excel and some will know what academic struggle is for the first time as they progress in their education. Friendships will fall away while new ones are formed. For many, high school graduation is the first loosening of the apron strings that tied them to home.
As a parent, I’ve been through this three times. I had three boys. Unfortunately, my youngest was a 2020 grad and while he doesn’t, I feel a little cheated when I look at some of the events happening this week for the senior class. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, just the effect of the pandemic and the precautions all communities had to take. But, all three of my boys were ready for high school to end. I’m not sure any of them would have whooped through the halls at the high school if they had even had the chance. It’s fine that most do. High school graduation should be celebrated, especially with the difficulties that students and teachers have tolerated in the last few years. It’s also fine that some are ready to move on. Be sure to know if your student needs a break from the celebrations of high school graduations during the next month. And, allow them to take it. Not everyone likes a parade. It’s exhausting for some.
Just some thoughts from an introvert and a mom of three past graduates.
The month of May can be hard.