Browsing Tag



Graduation & The End of an Era


It’s graduation season, and even if you don’t have anyone culminating, you can’t help but feel the bittersweet vibe of moving on. I can get teary-eyed just by looking at pics on social media of other people’s kids tossing caps in the air, posing in their gowns, and holding up diplomas for the world to see.

This year, though, graduation is personal — yesterday, my daughter culminated from her K-8 school, and where we live, the kids will now scatter far and wide, as there is no one neighborhood high school. So for the weeks leading up to this auspicious event, she and her friends have been ramping up for an emotional parting. We’ve had torturous sentimental Adele songs on endless repeat, learned to qualify nearly everything as “the last… [fill in pretty much every daily activity]” and on more than one night, I’ve had to tell her to dry her tears, because her friendships aren’t over — they’ll just morph into a new phase. And assure her that she can always go back and visit her teachers and the ol’ schoolyard. read more


A Graduation Speech for Parents


My fellow parents; graduates; and those who have ever had parents or who have ever graduated:

I think that it’s a good thing that some Hallmark planner somewhere decided that Father’s Day, not Mother’s Day, should be the holiday closest to graduations.

If Mother’s Day coincided, then it would be an emotional burden too ginormous to bear, and it would probably lead to some sort of social collapse — if not an economic boon for tissues.

Invoking fathers, theoretically the more stoic parental units, is a smart move. (Although on plenty of graduation occasions I’ve enjoyed watching grown men cry.) The well-worn marketing expression, “Dads and Grads,” helps us remember that behind all graduates lurk parents who are moving on to the next age and phase, too.

Speaking of Hallmark — a brand where sentimental word choice is their business — I’d like to call in one of their consultants to my kids’ school, pronto.

There they call graduation “culmination,” which is like a swift kick to the emotional balls. Graduation is something that feels gentle and gradual — a mere conferring of diplomas. read more

Best o’ the Bitch, Bitch’in Life, Parenting

It’s All Right to Cry


I’ve been thinking about blogging on the topic of crying for a while now, but have refrained because I was too nervous it would, well, make me cry.

But this entire year, as my son faces leaving childhood behind and becoming a teen, and my daughter departs from the comfort of elementary school for the semi-independent world of middle school, I’ve had a knot in my chest that expands by the day.

The knot first appeared when I was nursing my infant son. I had a masochistic habit of rocking him in time to Cat Steven’s “Father and Son” (“It’s not time to make a change/Just relax and take it easy/You’re still young, that’s your fault/There’s so much you have to know…”). Playing that song was like an emotional gag reflex that made me cough up heaving sobs every time. I’d blame it on postpartum depression, but clearly there was something else more sinister, and pathetic, at work.

The next phase of inappropriate outbursting culminated at preschool “graduation,” when my son’s class sang, “Puff the Magic Dragon” as part of the celebration. Sure, it’s a song about getting high (as urban legend insists and stoner-icons Peter, Paul, and Mary intriguingly, yet emphatically, deny), but when I listened to it being sung in imperfect 22-part harmony, the line, “a dragon lives forever, but not so little boys” felt as painful as getting rammed in the heart with a pointy, serpentine scale. After they finished, I excused myself to the bathroom and wept uncontrollably by the itty-bitty, mini-toilets, trying hard not to be seen or heard. Given the fact that there were no stalls, it was a really sad attempt, akin to the Jolly Green Giant trying to appear inconspicuous among a bunch of curious sprouts. read more