Our baby graduates from high school next Saturday.
I’m not one of those moms who will mourn the loss of his childhood. I’m really happy he’s closer to being grown and I’m excited for the opportunities in life ahead of him. Our daughter graduated high school the same year our son started first grade, because we’re crazy and decided to drag our participation in the public education process out for 23 full years, instead of being intelligent enough to have our children in close sequence, and suffering it all at once.
Public education has been completely sufficient for our kids, mostly because we taught them from the beginning that they get out of it what they give to it and no one owes them anything. Our daughter went to a terrible high school but graduated with honors and went on to higher education in the vocational nursing field. She did that because she decided she wanted a good education and she knew she was going to have to get it – no one was going to give it to her.
She also worked her butt off to pay for that education herself, and consequently, she appreciates it and has every intention of making the most of it, because she paid for it.
Our son took a minute to get on track, but when he did, he was never less than an A/B student. He had some trouble with the zero tolerance policies last year, when he put on his work pants (which happened to have a buck knife in the pocket of them) and went to school carrying what is considered a deadly weapon in his pocket. He got in a lot of trouble and it really could have ruined his life, but he did what he needed to do to make it right and with the help of a very good friend and mentor, who just happens to be our attorney, he decided to turn the negative experience into a positive. He got a job in the attorney’s office and is going to school this fall to pursue his paralegal, because he too will be paying for his own education and wants to make sure he has a proclivity for law before he decides to invest roughly $100K in the piece of paper that says he can practice it.
It feels good to have two productive human beings call me Mom. I appreciate the people who are sharing our experience this time of year, and turning out decent humans to take care of us when we get old. Ciara “Shortstack” Sleeth also graduates from high school this year, and if there’s ever been a kid who is going to make the world pay attention to her, that’s the one. I’m sure her mom and dad feel the same pride we do, and they have every right to.
As I sit at a desk covered with cartoon characters in an office with walls that have memorabilia from every state in the nation, and more than a little Bigfoot paraphernalia, I feel like I may not be the most qualified person in the world to offer people advice about growing up. The best I can give you is to avoid being an asshole as much as possible, have fun, and be with people you love as much as you can. The rest of it comes with time, and time is a tough teacher.
Good luck graduates! Welcome to the world!