It just dawned on me that at this time last year, I was stressing over what to wear to my son’s college graduation.
And now that it’s over, I can share what I learned so others won’t bog down the same way.
Thus, my Top Ten Suggestions for surviving your son/daughter’s graduation:
1) This isn’t your show.
Your son or daughter has worked extremely hard to reach a pinnacle of success, regardless of whether he attended every class or she made the dean’s list. Your progeny has completed step one of the American Dream — a college education. Even if you wear a gunny sack and saddle shoes, your kid is going to get a diploma. Rejoice!
2) You can’t control the weather.
It might rain. Or snow. And universities sometimes face families directly into a blazing sun. Whatever. Watch the weather forecasts and be prepared. A fold-up rain poncho in your purse, sunglasses and sunscreen, perhaps a jacket — any, or all, might be your friends before the festivities end.
3) Smile and be pleasant.
Chances are, you’ll be meeting some of your kid’s friends. And their families. Or having to see a long-lost “ex.” That might not segue with your mental picture of commencement (having your child all to yourself), but long after college is over, it’s the friendships your kid made that will be most precious. Don’t bring “an attitude.” Be flexible, remember your manners, and go with the flow.
4) Wear comfortable shoes for walking.
Sure, those four-inch sandals are cute, but you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Across campus, up and down stairs. Do you really want to be “that mom” who thumps around barefoot because her feet are killing her halfway through the ceremony?
5) Try your clothing on before leaving home.
Add Spanx for a smoother silhouette. Repair hemlines and buttons. Make sure your red blouse really matches the red in your skirt. Be certain you can walk, sit, and bend over comfortably.
6) Be considerate of others.
You’re not the only parent there to see a son or daughter graduate. Leave the floppy, ginormous hat at home. Don’t pop up and down, waving and hollering at your kid. Don’t block anyone who’s trying to snap a photo. Watch that you don’t spill hot liquids on others.
7) Don’t hog your kid’s free time.
This might be your son or daughter’s last time to “hang” with their friends for a while. For certain, it will be the last time they’ll all be together “footloose and fancy free.” Let them go! They need something to hang onto when Life hands them problems; they need final good memories of their college experience. They don’t need you tagging along.
8) Forget your other responsibilities for a day.
Your kid graduates from undergrad school once. It’s a BIG occasion. Turn your cell phone off, unplug your computer, and be unavailable to the office for a few hours. Get somebody to cover for you. And if you know little siblings can’t behave, get a sitter.
9) Be prepared to work.
Afterwards, your son or daughter might need help moving back home, to another college campus, or to a first job. Be sure you’ve packed clothing suitable for work.
10) Repeat — This isn’t your show.
You’re dealing with a lot of emotions right now. So’s your kid! It’s easy for tempers to flare, feelings to bruise. Don’t let one occasion — major as it might be — ruin a lifetime relationship. Commencement is one day; family is forever. Relax and enjoy the celebration!
Any tips you can add to help grads and their parents?