I cried today, no surprise to anyone who knows me. It’s a trait I inherited from my Mom. One of many. My older son was the cause. Even he admits he was quite the handful to raise, and this is certainly not the first time he made me cry, but as a man, he makes me cry for good reasons. He sent an amazing flower arrangement for Mother’s Day. I am sure I will be crying again in two weeks, as we celebrate his great accomplishment of graduating from Georgetown Law School. Actually I know I will be crying before that, I’ll be crying next weekend, too.
This is a public shout-out to my younger son, who in his own Tyler style, is kind of graduating first. You see Tyler is a lot like me. He does things his own way, and sometimes inadvertently makes things harder for himself, but he always lands on his feet, usually with a joke and a smile. He will have successfully finished his coursework for his college degree, but still has a dangling internship to finish before it’s “official.”
I have been known to debate people regarding the reason for attending and finishing college. Many if not most people see it as vocational training, to get a better job and more money. I think the true reason is not job training, but life training. You learn to be curious about the world, to finish what you start, to be accountable for your actions. You learn that bad things happen, and success is often about overcoming obstacles, challenges and set-backs. The person who ducks and covers loses, the strong stand up, fight back, and still see the good in people, and the joy in life. That is my younger son. Those who seem to glide through college either are excellent at hiding their issues, or are in for an abrupt awakening when real life dishes out what it so often serves.
Around 14 Tyler was unceremoniously dumped by his tightly knit group of friends, brothers since early grade school. I was devastated. He said “Mom, stop worrying! it’s just high school, I’ll play sports and find new friends.” And he did. Seriously, who in high school is smart enough to realize “it’s just high school”? In college, one of those childhood friends apologized to him. Tyler told him something along the lines of “No big deal, I did that to someone myself. Kids are mean.”
Tyler is not a follower. He knows himself. He goes through struggles but never gives up. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, but the journey is always filled with love and laughter.
He is not participating in the graduation ceremony. His advisor said he should, but it’s not what he wants. This reminds me so much of well, me. Hubs and I are still going down to Mizzou for graduation next weekend. We’ll simply be grilling and celebrating with T and his friends. I’ll have no picture of him in cap and gown, but I’ll have indelible memories of his accomplishments in my heart, always.
His renegade choices also remind me of one of my favorite moments from his childhood, when I discovered him, in his eye-watering neon green/yellow shirt, smiling among a sea of red clad, Kirkwood-loving fellow high school graduates for their final class picture.
Truly so proud of you. I hope I remember the Kleenex.