Within the next few weeks, my daughter will graduate from the Special Education Graduate Program at LIU Post. This is a huge milestone, for it marks the completion of her master’s degree. It also signals a fond farewell to her career as a student.
As I currently type this column, I understand that many of you are experiencing similar feelings of relief, excitement and perhaps a bit of anxiety. Your child is about to embark on a new journey, whether it’s the end of the school year or the beginning of a different school. You feel excited for them, because they’re about to experience all the glorious newness that “stepping up” entails. You’re relieved, especially as your child exits college, that your monthly payments to the school have finally ended, although new ones are about to begin. You’re a little nervous for them, because you wonder whether they will find a position in their career choice, or if they will have to search elsewhere, even off Long Island, to pursue their dreams. There are so many emotions that a parent feels as a child ends one experience and starts another, and it’s kind of tough to encompass that range in the scope of 500 words. Let’s just say that I get you. I’m going through the course, too.
Our daughter came into our bedroom a few weeks ago with an expression of great sadness. As I attempted to coax her feelings out, she collapsed into a pool of tears. “I’m getting old,” she wailed. “I’m worried about the future.”
Alas, mommas do not possess crystal balls, and we cannot assure them completely that life has a funny way of working out. That’s a tried and true experience that we learn along the way. When my own parents offered me the expression as I finished my pinning ceremony (nurses understand this one), I kind of scoffed at them. Years later, I understand that their wisdom was entirely correct.
As my daughter climbed between us, I tried to make her laugh. “Come to me when you’re my age, and then we’ll talk about who is ‘old.’” I offered. She began to cry even harder. “What if you aren’t here when I’m your age?” Again, no crystal ball was available. My husband offered her a bit of the sage advice that I wasn’t sure he possessed: “The future isn’t here yet. Focus on right now. We’re here, right now. That’s all that matters—right now.”
My daughter sat up and wiped her tears away. She offered him a smile as brilliant as the sun and threw her arms around him. “Thanks, Dad.” The tearfulness was over, she was smiling and the fear of an uncertain future had passed. When she exited the room, I stared at him as though he’d grown a second head. He put his hand up to block my gaze, one of his more “endearing” habits. I glanced at my night table, where I noted my copy of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Had he begun reading it without my knowledge? I’d paid decent cash to read those very same words he’d uttered.
I offer this advice to you now, because even the memory of his words has shocked me right back into the present. Enjoy this moment, as your child moves to the next grade or even graduates their final school. There is joy in staying within the present, because every single nuance brings its own form of magic. I wish you all a wonderful “end-of-the-school-year” season and a hearty congratulations to those of you with graduating children. It’s a wild and wonderful ride, isn’t it?
Patty Servidio is a columnist, contributing writer and columnist with Anton Media Group. The views expressed by columnists are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.