One of the best parts of my son’s high school graduation was unexpected.
It wasn’t the processional, with hundreds of young people looking dapper in their caps and gowns marching onto the football field.
It certainly wasn’t the speeches. Although the ones at my son’s graduation were short and generated a few good laughs thankfully.
It wasn’t the fact that I teared up. I totally expected to do that.
No, the unexpected part of my senior’s high school graduation that I came to love was what I called the “after party”. It was the time after the ceremony when my son moved from friend group to friend group, hugging, shaking hands, and snapping pictures.
He hugged his best friends since kindergarten, then posed with new classmates he met just this year. He shook hands with teammates from all the sports he’d played over the years. Then he caught up with the gang he’d known since preschool. It was amazing to see him mark this moment with so many kids from so many different activities and parts of his life.
And it made me think.
Moms, we should take pictures with each other at high school graduation. Wouldn’t it be awesome to congratulate, honor and recognize all the moms who walked alongside us and our high school graduates to this day?
I’d start with the daycare moms, those moms I saw at drop off or pick up when our kids were so little. These were some of my first friends as a parent, moms that walked beside me as we navigated the work life balance.
There were the playgroup moms who welcomed me and my messy, loud, crying tot into their homes on a rotating basis. And the summertime moms with whom I visited the beach or pool or did anything to get the kids out of the house for a few hours. These moms made me feel less alone and sprinkled my day with the sunshine of adult companionship.
There were the birthday party moms, those of us who weathered the noise and mirth of crowded venues like Chuck E. Cheese on Saturday afternoons for what seemed like five years in a row. We spent dozens of weekends with each other at miniature golf, laser tag, or bounce house venues.
I’d want pictures with the room volunteer moms. Together we manned craft tables at holiday celebrations, helped small groups with reading or spelling, or ran activities in the hot sun on Field Day.
A big shout out to the moms with whom I ever chaperoned a field trip. These moms know how hard it is to keep a group of youngsters from wandering off on your watch! In particular, I remember the mom with whom I partnered on an overnight middle school field trip. She helped me endure a rowdy group singing the Spongebob Squarepants theme song. Over and over again.
There are the church moms who greeted my family every Sunday, and walked alongside my child in his faith journey from tot to teen. These moms prayed for my child and taught his youth group and Sunday school classes.
I’d want to pose for pictures with the sports team moms, the ones who shivered with me in the rain by soccer fields or shared blankets in the hockey rink so our butts didn’t freeze. All the moms who cheered for my kid as I cheered for theirs.
And there are so many more moms I didn’t know that other moms might want a picture with. The moms who helped with scouts troops or debate and robotics teams. Moms who prepped for band competitions or theater performances. Moms who ran the parent-teacher organizations.
Yes, as I looked around the crowd after my son’s high school graduation I wanted to snap pictures with all the moms who had been part of the journey to this momentous occasion. I wanted to hug and high five these moms. We did it, and we did it together!
Plus, after years of trying to coordinate our schedules to hang out, we were actually all at the same event.
**Hey dear readers! Thank you so much for reading my essay. This article was originally published by Your Teen for Parents, the premier resource for parents of teenagers.**