Graduation. Onward and beyond.

July 1, 2018 |  Category:   life parenting

June and the end of the school year is always bittersweet around here, but when the month ends with a milestone like a graduation, those sentiments get magnified to the point where I find myself flipping through old photos of when the kids were young with their chubby cheeks and adorable matching haircuts because I want to hold on to them longer. Sappy I know, but I am a wildly sentimental person. More so as I get older. Middle school graduation has hit the hardest so far because there are so many changes that happen during those years and most kids in the city leave their district schools and many of their friends who they’ve been with for the past 9 years as they scatter to different high schools all over the city. There is some serious growing up that happens in middle school.

There is so much that I’ve wanted to write about parenting and the kids over the years, but knowing that I shouldn’t out of privacy for the family always prevails. I feel like kids need us more when they’re older, for emotional and academic support, which I find a hell of a lot more challenging than the early years when I just had to make sure they were housed and fed. I know many of you would be able to relate to some of the experiences and challenges of having teens as we all age together, and there have been times at night when my insomnia is bad and my thoughts are so overwhelming that I’ve wanted to write them down here like I used to in the past. I realized in looking over some of my favorite posts that my writing was at its best when I could tell stories of what’s happening in our lives and inject them with a little humor. What’s parenting without a little humor! But somewhere along the way I lost the humor. Parenting can be lonely sometimes. We all need an outlet. For me it used to be here.

It’s the first day of July. We’ve had a few days last week to reset from the end of the school year which just ended for NYC public schools. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t get teary on the last day of school (I totally did, and by all accounts judging on how I handled this graduation, I expect to be full out balling at the high school one). June was such a whirlwind month of end of the year senior activities that culminated in a very lovely graduation ceremony and lunch, that we all had to decompress and adjust to summer’s sudden slower pace. The kids asked me why I get so sad when school ends. It’s funny isn’t it? They’re so giddy that they have a break from the grind of school and homework that they just don’t understand. I told them that parents get a little sad because it’s a real marker of time and now that they’re older, also a countdown clock to how many years we have left with them. But I do remember that thrill of rushing out the doors on the last day of school and that feeling of pure elation that I had nothing to do for months. Months! (And then boredom sets in, but that’s an entirely different story). Time marches differently for the young. I’m a bit envious that they only seem to have the ability to always look forword. As adults, how do we get some of that back?

You Might Also Like

  • Lara Shihab-Eldin July 2, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Amazing! I’ve been following your blog since your kiddos were little, and I totally understand the shift, despite missing your helpful parenting insights, the need for privacy makes so much sense. Congratulations on this milestone! We had a week without camp last week, and it felt like a shock to the system following a very full school year. I hope you guys are settling nicely into summer.

    • Jenna July 5, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Thank you Lara. Yes, time zips by! Hope you are settling into summer as well!

  • willgoh2 July 3, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    “Parenting can be lonely sometimes. We all need an outlet. For me it used to be here.”


    Parenting can be very lonely at times. We do need an outlet. It goes both ways. It’s strange, the evolution of the internet and social media. I came here (and many other blogs) because people wrote so openly and honestly, and I sought sites like yours because it made me realize I wasn’t alone in parenting, in “marriage-ing’, in navigating life. I could relate all too well, or I looked for answers or suggestions. I even commented and added my voice of support, or vented in commiseration. But then social media burst open, and people flocked there. They wrote in 120 characters or less, their kids started to grow, their marriages started to change, life threw in deeply personal challenges, and folks started to write less or cryptically -allowing only those truly in the most inner circles to know what was happening.

    It’s a strange thing, indeed because I shared less with my close friends because they were close, perhaps too close and for fear of secret judgment. I found a certain cloak of privacy by sharing my deeper thoughts online, under an unidentifiable name, and finding support that way. But online has changed, and yet I continue to share less with my close friends. Hell, as lives and attitudes change, I’ve actually been struggling to figure out just who my close friends really are -yet, I also feel like I no longer have a community online to which I can turn to.

    You write about missing the old, young days of our kids -god, do I ever hear you loud and clear as I gaze at my child, whose changing body screams at me “Not a baby anymore!!”, but truth be told, I also really miss the old, young days of the internet, of blogging, and that candid, unfiltered writing, the support that came with it, and while I didn’t actually know anyone in real life, there was a kinship of sorts that I treasured.

    I love your writing, in part, because you’re so great with words and putting them together to make such an impactful point, but also so much of what you write touches home with me and where I am in life. So I’ll take any little nugget you want to share, but also understand when you feel you can no longer share much anymore.
    (Sorry it’s so long, I got carried away)

    • Jenna July 5, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment (and I don’t mind the long response!). Always nice to hear from others. I totally know what you mean about it sometimes feeling more comfortable to share with strangers than people who are in your real-world life. I feel this too sometimes. And I too feel wistful about the old days of blogging and the internet. But I guess, like with anything else, we can’t expect things to stay the same. Everything in life is ever-evolving – and we need to evolve right along with it, don’t we?

  • Chai Ling July 7, 2018 at 1:39 am

    i smiled when read the way you described the old photos. sometimes on the commute home, i too looked at old photos of my little one when the dining table was higher than he was. the amusing part here is you are writing about your girl’s graduation while my boy will be four next month. somehow, some parts in parenthood we could relate to each other, no matter how old the children grow.

  • Nicholas A Alcivar July 16, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Beautifully said!

  • Vanessa July 19, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    It really is paramount to protect the privacy of the children, the husband, and the elders around us who bring in the hardships and love all day long. I bring it to them as well. I have taken to writing for myself every night. It can’t be shared, but there is some release any way.

  • Janine July 22, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks Jenna,

    It’s always nice to check back in and see how you’re doing. I’m really feeling that marching of time thing. My 12 year old has started being smelly and a bit obnoxious at times and I’m over 50 now and looking back and thinking where’s the time gone etc. But also something amazing is happening. My daughter is 16 now and just finished her exams here in the UK. She has just returned from 10 days camping in France with 9 of her friends in the grounds of her friend’s grandma’s house. They just navigated back by themselves 24 hrs on 4 different coaches and a ferry and do you know I didn’t really worry – I just felt excited and I can feel her growing up and it’s just wondrous!

    • Jenna July 26, 2018 at 1:41 am

      Your daughter sounds like she’s having an amazing summer! And doesn’t it feel good to know that they can navigate themselves out in the world?