May is always a busy month. Add to the mix a child in high school and May is just crazy. Make that child a senior and the month is insane. End of year parties, last soccer games, concerts, graduations, retirement parties, not to mention finals, AP tests, college applications, job applications, scholarship applications; the list goes on and on.
This year, we had our number 2 son graduate. In the month of May our family has had
17 graduation parties to attend
15 soccer games
2 AP tests
retirement party (for 6 teachers)
graduation party for our son
youth group BBQ
Countless other end of the year activities
Needless to say, it has been nuts around here. On a positive note, I cook less in May (so many parties), I finish working in May (yeah summer break), and most years the weather is beautiful in May (this year Colorado has had some crazy weather).
May can be stressful, it can be overwhelming but it brings new beginnings and excitement for the future. Having another graduate in the house this year made me think about what I have learned between graduating the eldest and the second as well as what I wish someone would have told me about being a mom of a high school graduate.
Enjoy all the lasts before they graduate
Enjoy all the lasts: the last choir concert, the last day of school, the last sports event, the last final, the last day of having a child rather than a full fledged adult. Sometimes those lasts are well planned, sometimes they sneak up on you. Embrace them, enjoy them, mourn them.
Encourage your child up to the last day. Senior year is hard, and annoying, and long.
My son was ready to be done with high school on the first day of his senior year. Most of his good friends had graduated the year before, he was not excited about his classes, and he was just ready for the next adventure. It took a lot of pep talks, encouragement and cheering on for him to succeed this year.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Don’t sweat the small stuff (and as Erma Bombeck would say “It’s all small stuff”.
Take a lot of pictures. It may have driven my son nuts but some day, we will both be glad we have the memories to look back on
Ask for help
Ask for help, especially for the graduation party. We handed out close to 175 graduation announcements and probably had at least 100 people in and out of our house for the party. It was loud, it was chaotic, but it was so much fun. I was beyond blessed to have my mom and my best friend from high school come to town for my son’s graduation. They were the saving grace at the party. They made sure the food never ran out, that the plates got thrown in the trash, and the full trash bags taken out.
If you do not have family in town to help in that way, ask a friend to help. I told another good friend, whose son will graduate next year, that I will be her hostess at the party. I will be the one to refill the chip bowl and be sure we do not run out napkins so that she can concentrate on her guests.
There is no need to be Pinterest perfect
Don’t worry about all the Pinterest ideas for the party. While many of them are great and so fun, just do you. If you want to do a photo booth, then do it. Or if you want the cutsie cupcakes and specialty candy buffet, then do it. But if that isn’t your thing, DON’T do it. At the end of the day, everyone just wants to join in on celebrating your child’s success. Some simple snacks and maybe a few photos of the grad are all that is needed. May is stressful enough, give yourself the grace to throw the party that gives you joy not grey hair.
Advice for graduation party attendees
And finally, a little advice to all of you heading out to graduation parties this year:
Please know that just because we send you an announcement, we absolutely do not expect you to send a check. We simply want you to join with us in celebrating our graduate.
I have been completely blown away by the generosity of our circle this year and it is so very much appreciated. BUT, we want you to know that really, we just want you to join in on the fun!
If you come to the party, we do not expect you to bring a gift and we certainly do not expect you to spend a fortune on our graduate. A personal note or a small gift is plenty, anything is appreciated. Write on the frame, leave a note in the memory jar, take the photo! We know that sometimes it is hard to know what to say, but the short sentiments left by our guests will be treasured always.
So, yes, May is crazy and in all honesty, I am looking forward to not having a high schooler next year. But would I change it? Not for the world!