Hannah graduated from college a week ago, and I’m just now catching up with life-as-usual. (Among other things, I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing a blog post every day).

What a whirlwind of activities and emotions!

I’m the sort of person who processes thoughts and experiences slowly, so that I actually appreciate events more fully after they are over. During a Big Happening, I try and take lots of photos and absorb as much of what’s going on as I can. Then, I sort through it emotionally later on.

A few mornings ago, over my first cup of coffee, I felt good, calm feelings beginning to surface, and so I quickly jotted them down before I could squelch or analyze them. What do I feel now that both of my kids are finished with college?:

2 Comments to
This Mother's Feelings After Graduation

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  1. Leigh, interesting article.

    You know, my mother felt the same way as you when I graduated from college. We both felt drained emotionally and physically. It took us a couple of weeks to regain our sense of self, our interest in what interested us before graduation, and our regular and daily routines. I felt a variety of emotions, some positive and some negative.

    I felt a sense of accomplishment, renewal, and peace, yet loneliness, happiness, freedom, motivation for the future, and a sense of adulthood/womanhood. I couldn’t capture my true self at that time, it took me time to organize all of my emotions.

    My first day of graduate school was the day after graduation! So I really had some organizing to do and very little time to renew my mind and spirit after that very life changing event.

    What I found interesting about graduation day was that, although it is symbolic, it is also very real and can change one’s perspective about themselves, their lives, and their future. Commencement seems to cement the grad’s journey on a particular path and calls for greater achievements in one’s future. This can be draining in and of itself.

    One of the things that helped me get through my constellation of emotions was, as you can also see in my article on authenticity, was remaining true to myself, allowing myself time (even if it was for just 30 minutes) to reconcile all of my emotions, and to be in touch with my spiritual self.
    Nostalgia was present with me for a couple of weeks, but once I grounded myself in the spiritual elements of life and the things I valued, I grew to accept all of my mixture of feelings and learned to live quite comfortably with all of the various changes.

    It takes time (for both parent(s) and grad), but a reconciliation of emotions will come.

    Paz y amor! (translation: peace and love).

  2. I can very much relate. Both of our kids graduated this year – a week apart.

    In my relationships I find there is a balance between discerning and honoring my own feelings, wants and needs — and honoring the feelings, wants, and needs of the other. The balance is constantly shifting as circumstances and people, me included, change. Figuring out what’s best for the self, the other, and the relationship is challenging.

    When it comes to our children, I believe our heightened awareness and responsibility as parents puts forces into play that make it even harder to maintain the balance. It does get easier as they get older, but I still have to consciously ask myself “how do I feel about this?” Staying aware of your own experience and feelings takes some effort.

    Becoming a parent of adult children is a process! Bravo to you for writing about your experiences. By the way, it looks like your daughter graduated from the Univesity of Colorado??! Congratulations to her and you.

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