Graduation Is Bittersweet


When it comes to graduation there are two main (BIG) feelings, which come together to make it very a bittersweet time. On one hand we are ready to be done dealing with school, but on the other hand, the idea of letting them go is gut-wrenching. And if the child in question has ADHD issues, it only magnifies all of it.

graduation is bittersweetNo More ADHD Battles With School

Raising a child with ADHD isn’t easy. We see and deal with, up close the battles and struggles they face. Many times those battles and struggles are with us. We are the ones they rail against and fight in their everyday battles to be, look, and act like everyone else. We are the ones coaching, pushing, teaching, and enforcing the standards and norm of the rest of society. It’s not an easy job. People who don’t know about it argue that ADHD doesn’t exist, or it’s just an excuse; the schools, generally, make you work (or fight) for every bit of help that your child needs to be successful; and the child herself fights against everything you try to do to be helpful. Some days, it feels like a never-ending battle-with someone, it’s just a question of whom on which day.

But Graduation…  Graduation means they made it. They are moving on. They are moving to the next step of life-whatever that may be for each child. It may mean moving away to college. It may mean getting a job. It may mean living at home while working or going to college. But the days of school and the battles that go with them are done. Which brings an incredible sense of relief.

No more school battles. No more checking homework. No more checking what the nightly assignments are. No more checking grades. No more trying to figure out what a missing assignment is, and what needs to be turned in. No more arguing about why an assignment is missing. No more emails from teachers about missing assignments. No more meetings at school about your child. No more doctor appointments to try to figure out the right medication and dosage. No more appointments with counselors to figure out what your child needs to be successful. No more 504 or IEP meetings. No more justifying everything you think your child needs.  No more fighting for it. No more meetings with school counselors and administrators to get it. It’s been 13 years. I’m tired.

Graduation Means Leaving

But graduation also means she’s going. She’s not going to be here every day. She’s moving on. From me. From my home. I won’t get to see her every day. I won’t get to ask her how her day was and listen to what she has to say. My heart literally aches. I want her to fly, to be the most she can be, to be the best she can be. But letting go is hard. I’ve given her wings, but the thought of her flying away is breaking me.

I’ve lived through all the battles, and the all struggles, and all the fights. I’ve been the person she rages against when she can’t figure out how to deal things. I’ve been the person that coaches and prods and reminds and encourages and chastises. While there are some moments that I would love to erase, overall I wouldn’t trade it for anything. She is who she is, and her ADHD is part of that. She is beautiful and creative and has a wicked sense of humor. She cares deeply and feels strongly-about everything. She’s a great friend and if you’re her friend she’ll always have your back. She fights for those she cares about.

Graduation is Bittersweet

Graduation is both an ending and a beginning. It marks the end of the school battles and all that goes with them. And for that, I’m not going to lie, I am thrilled. But it also marks a beginning. The beginning of her adulthood, which will take her farther from me, leaving me feeling more than a little bereft. But mostly, it leaves me feeling proud. There were many times along the way where I wasn’t sure we would make it through to this point. But we did. She did it. Which swells my heart to bursting. So, if you see tears, it’s just the pride overflowing. Yeah, that’s what it is. 


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Once Upon A Time, in another life, Kristin graduated from the University of Michigan with a plan to teach high school math. But then, life happened when she wasn’t looking…. She married an Army guy and 23 years, 3 kids, a few dogs, 7 homes, and 2 continents later she’s now a single mom living here in Colorado Springs. Along the way she volunteered for the Army, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and several schools; managed volunteer organizations, coached judo, trained to be a whitewater rafting guide, biked down Pike’s Peak and even managed to teach some high schoolers a little math before forging new trails writing, teaching and financial planning. She never knows what’s coming around the bend, but she’s learned to handle whatever life (and the Army!), throws at her with a smile and a laugh. She’s pretty sure you can get through anything with those, even if you have to fake it occasionally!!