Two years of school have come to an end and while I’m celebrating my graduation today…and should be feeling nothing but happiness and elation…I’m simply overwhelmed!
There’s a part of me that didn’t want it to end. While I struggled to get my children to every single one of their activities and take care of my commitments while attending school…I also found a certain amount of comfort there. With my classmates…I felt joy…a camaraderie for “being in this together.” Much as my struggles may have been different from theirs…we hobbled along together and celebrated each others accomplishments as we went.
I will miss them.
Today, there’s a part of me that wants to bury my head in the sand again. While I fight against change in my life…my life has been nothing but change for the last four and a half years. Once again…new roads are in front of me and as exciting as the future looks…I want to stay still for a moment. Not move forward. Rest.
Add to that…the simple fact that I’ve attended multiple graduations as a university prof, handed out degrees, praised my students on their accomplishments…it just feels absolutely absurd to be on the receiving side.
And finally…throw in that my very best friend from school, Snuff, is away and won’t be here to celebrate…I’m a little lost without him at my side. Our non-traditional friendship (based solely on the fact that I’m twice his age) has been a Godsend. And call me crazy, but I want him here to see it through to the very end.
Despite every sense of apprehension and oddness that I feel…today, I’ll walk across the stage and accept a piece of paper that will represent two long years of hard work and commitment. And tonight…my three amazing children will host a party in my honor. Which again…feels absolutely insane for them to be celebrating my accomplishments rather than me to be celebrating theirs.
For me…while they’re proud of their Mom and all that I’ve done…I see two years of not entirely being there for them. Multiple nights of not having dinner on the table and being quick-tempered. Two years of constantly saying “I’m tired” and not quite having enough time for everything that needed to get done. Of “making it up to them” on the nights I realized I let them down but knowing there were many more I missed.
Despite every apprehension of what’s before me…in a few hours, I will be handed a piece of paper that represents every bit of good and bad of the last few years. Every achievement. Every proud moment. Every burnt dinner and take out pizza. Each night I snapped then took them out for ice-cream and a few “I’m sorrys.” It represents each time I sat in the car at the barn and worked on my computer while my daughter’s coach encouraged me and every Rink Manager who gave me the password to their internet so I could do the same. It’s each time I felt overwhelming guilt for not being there for my children and the moments I set aside so they could catch me up on their lives.
That piece of paper represents each bottle of wine and every glass of G&T that Snuff and I drank while coding. Each late night conversation of “I can’t do this any more” while he “talked me down” and made it right. Each breakdown where I fell apart…and he glued me back together. Every time he made me smile.
It represents a dog who never got walked, a house that never got cleaned and laundry that kept piling higher.
That paper represents my parents who picked up the slack, my girlfriends who provided comic relief and encouragement without ever making me feel I was neglecting them. It represents the woman I once called my mother-in-law who filled my freezer with casseroles on multiple occasions…who I’m so honoured to call my friend. It’s my older brother who slipped me a “few extra dollars” to help me out and my younger one…who made sure the driveway was shovelled on the coldest of mornings. It’s my niece…who’s following in my footsteps.
That paper…it represents far more than the completed assignments, the final marks and the title of “Graphic Designer”…it represents two years of depending on those around me…to get to this very day.
And for that…I am truly, extremely, graciously, thankful and proud.
A wee bit happy…quite possibly elated…and simply overwhelmed!