Our Oldest Has Graduated: I Don’t Think It’s Fully Hit Us Yet
June 4, 2023
by Dr. Plastic Picker
It was a big day for our entire family yesterday. For my real-life friends you’ve seen it on Facebook, all those senior moments that led up to graduation. Knowing that I’m his only mother has given me permission to take a break from climate work to do all those things that only I can do. Mr. Plastic Picker and I rushed around in the morning to Costco (had to split a hot dog) and then to Vons (to try to find graduation flowers). I was looking for a graduation lei, but we ended up with a small cute graduation sloth (that is his spirit animal) and flowers. My brother’s family ended up making us this amazing folded money lei instead that was truly unique. And then making sure I dyed my hair. Making sure we saved seats ahead for the ceremony, the reservations for dinner at Liberty Station. And even for next week, we are having a party at our house and getting the cleaning company to do a deep clean and ordering the food and sending the evite to those we consider close family friends. All those moments, only I can do and he wants to be celebrated. And it’s made me take care of myself, because I’ve always been his (and his sister’s) mommy first.
I am usually snapping pictures but yesterday I was just experiencing, and letting others snap the photos. I was just experiencing it all. The breeze was gentle and cool. The sunshades were majestic and appreciated. The colors vibrant. The happiness of the day and sadness of the upcoming parting of ways palpable. I sat at later that night at dinner with our extended family and just looked and gazed. I looked at my parents face multiple times as my father was laughing and saving his grandson’s number of his phone. I gazed at my own son’s face, as he was enjoying both sides of the table that he sat at the center. I gazed at the face of my daughter too often, as she was glowing in the center of her male cousins and her brother. She’s pretty and her prettiest is more evident when she’s the only girl. I gazed at my mother-in-law and father-in-law, as they sat in their fancy clothes eating American food, which they haven’t in a long while. I gazed at my husband and I pinched his cheeks, and then my mother-in-law pinched my father-in-laws cheeks in jest at the same time.
Yesterday was mostly about family and they realized how important the oldest and only son of the only son of the only son is to our family. He’s been this beautiful group project that we’ve all contributed and he’s turned out to be such a wonderful human being. I’m not sure if I’m really going to cry. I’ve certainly been teary eyed. But for my oldest after he was born, I had this great sense of responsibility. The feeling is very different than for our daughter. For him, I felt a heavy weight knowing I needed to raise him well. And I did. We all did.
He will have a wonderful two months off, of hanging out with friends and camping with best friends. He will clean his room. And we will enjoy these two months together before we launch him off to college this fall. There is not much time because his school starts the earliest of the UC campuses. But I wanted to thank the blog’s readership. This has been my emotional journey on these pages, and I needed to tell you that today I just feel relief. I feel relief that he had the graduation that he had. He grew up within a caring school and family community, and he’s a great human being. And I’m 100% going to wear Cal Mom gear unapologetically for the rest of my life – because I deserve it and I’m proud of him and himself. No senioritis. Had the highest grades he’s gotten in high school the last trimester, and graduated with honor roll. And he took his AP tests seriously and prepared and we are pretty sure passed, hopefully with a decent score. The most important thing to his father and me, is that he respected his school and respected the sacrifices his grandparents and parents have made for him to attend and graduate from his particular school. And that gratitude to me, is worth more than any accolades or name brand university. He’s grateful. And I’m incredibly grateful for that. The Prom King? The Homecoming Court? Now that was just cool!