Graduation is not for wimps.

We are one week out from my SonShine’s high school graduation, and the tears have started to flow. Yesterday was his Cap & Gown Ceremony at school, and I am proud to say that I have already steamed both and hung them aside to be called into action next Friday.

Cascia Hall colors: navy, red, and white…Grad Regalia: black, royal, and silver…Must make sense to someone…we just go with it 🙂

Yesterday was also his last day of classes, but since final exams go through next Wednesday, I refuse to concede that his “last day of school” is yet upon us.

Since today is our last Friday morning of school together, I surprised him with a final “Donut Day” which has been our weekly tradition for the better part of the past 13 years.

Breakfast of Champions, of course!

I have his Senior Board ready to deliver tomorrow morning:

Nothing is nailed down or screwed into the wood board yet, but that Coach’s job 😉

This is a Cascia tradition which requires parents to sum up their student’s life-to-date in 864 square inches (exactly and not a smidge more than 2 feet by 3 feet). I’ve been documenting his life-to-date all year with an incredibly special scrapbook undertaking, and I can’t get it all done. It’s a tough failure to admit on my part, but I won’t have the project done in time for graduation.  We’ve simply enjoyed his childhood too much (as if there is such a thing).  There have been an infinite number of precious times, countless trips and vacations and days spent together, a myriad of treasured people, and more love than words and photos can accurately illustrate.  If I haven’t managed to corral all that joy and and growth and accomplishment on a year’s worth of scrapbook pages, how in the world does one do so in 864 square inches??

But, graduation is not for wimps, and I am not a wimp.  So, I prevailed.  I’ll proudly deliver his board to school Saturday morning just as requested.

And I’m sure a tear or two will escape my eyes.

A few more will roll the next day: Senior Sunday.  The day will begin with all the graduates at our church being recognized and honored and blessed by prayer for the next phase of each students’ journey.  Then we head straight to the dorm to deliver the first load of college “stuff” and begin the move-in process.  After that, we have Baccalaureate Mass and Dinner at Cascia Hall (another fun and fabulous school tradition in which the junior class hosts and serves dinner to the seniors and their families).

My boys helping as junior class servers at last year’s Baccalaureate.

Maybe more than just a “few” tears will roll on Sunday.

Monday is set aside to shop and prep for GradFest.  This is our version of the all-night, seniors-only, lock-em-in party to keep the kiddos safe as they celebrate their success and freedom.  I’m on the food committee, and I can attest that we will not let these sweet babies go hungry their first night post-childhood.  In fact, I’m in charge of the 3 am breakfast, and if I’ve ever taken you to Tally’s here in Tulsa for monster cinnamon rolls and big, fat breakfast tacos, then you know that the Cascia Class of 2017 is in for a treat!

Tuesday is his graduation practice which I, happily, have no part in whatsoever.

Wednesday is Senior Scholastic Night.  My SonShine says not to expect any academic awards, and I have assured him that the diploma is award enough for me and Coach.

Family begins to arrive on Thursday.  Graduation is Friday.

Saturday we are hosting a family get-together to celebrate this phenomenal young man.

Sunday will be brunch before family hits the road, and then we finish moving in the last bits of what he is taking to summer school.

And then I leave him there to start his new life, his new chapter.

So, yeah, a whole lot of tears are going to flow.

Before you condemn me for being THAT mom, the “helicopter mom” who can’t let go of her children or [re]accuse me of being too attached, let me assure you that no one is more excited for my graduate than I am.  No one wants more for him than I do.  No one will cheer harder or support greater than I will.

It does not matter if he is moving 5 minutes down the road or 5 hours across the country.  My sadness at the end of this chapter of his life is not actually about my graduate.  It’s about ME.  That’s right, I just confessed that I have thoughts and feelings and weaknesses and fears for myself and about myself, and I did it right here in front of God and all to see.

Here’s the thing, I absolutely, totally, and completely adore my family.  I think we have a truly perfect family dynamic.  So, yes, I am sad to see that change.

If you find that silly or ridiculous, I don’t care.  Your judgement does not bother me anymore.  In fact, I am sorry that you weren’t able to enjoy your kids more because I have been engaged, I have been present, I have been an integral part of my kids’ lives, and I would not change THAT for anything.  This kid and his baby sister, these last [almost] 19 years as a mom, my Coach, and the world we’ve created together is stronger and more meaningful than any other thing on this physical earth.

You can rest assured that THIS mom, the one with the red nose and splotchy eyes from crying, is the luckiest, most blessed lady you know!

Happy Graduation Week, and here’s to the Class of 2017!

With love and hugs,


The Tulsa Opera Ball


Spring Break in Grand Cayman


Cascia Hall Junior/Senior Prom


CH Class of 2017 Senior Breakfast


Silly Selfies on Mom’s phone (Happens weekly and usually without Mom’s knowledge!)

3 thoughts on “Graduation is not for wimps.

  1. You are so right. Graduation is not for wimps. I wondered yesterday what our house will feel like without him and cried my eyes out. But today is not about that – it’s a milestone for the class of 2017 and all of the families who have been on this journey together. Thanks for sharing this Ashli!


  2. It’s like you jumped inside my head and captured all of my private thoughts perfectly. Such a bittersweet time. So excited for Hannah and every possibility that awaits her, but sad for me. I will miss her footsteps above my bedroom, I will miss her at my kitchen counter doing homework, and I will miss her coming in late on the weekends and waking me up to tell me she is home.


  3. Oh Ashli….I totally get it. It’s taken 18 years to get to these precious moments. Cherish each one and move your heart to a new season. Love ya all😘


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