Sorting and savoring, two graduations, 10 days apart


Stand up and take a bow. Curtain closes on another chapter.

It’s that let-down feeling you have after everything is said and done.

Your busy plans are complete,

bags are emptied,

things are sort of back in place

and despite a moment of rest,

you are still utterly exhausted and drained.

Your company has left and life is back to normal – that is until your husband has meniscus surgery this Wednesday.

And looking at you and your sassy pink-haired self, no one would know all that’s been going on because you appear to be coping.

But the fact is you are struggling and you (in this case me) wrestle with conflicting emotions.

Clear as mud, huh?

Without getting too personal because blogs like that make me uncomfortable, this is how I’m feeling.

In some strange way, it seems as if nothing happened because so much happened and it’s just too hard to process. It’s postpartum depression minus the baby. I scarce can take it all in.

Two graduations in nine days in two different states is not for the faint of heart.

Of all the stressful things I have done in my life, having those two events so close to each other is wayyyy high up there on the things I wouldn’t choose to repeat.

Both moments were so significant and emotional, there wasn’t time to absorb one without quickly being distracted by the other.

As a result, I’m stunned.

What did we just do?

Where did we just go and come back from (and I don’t even care about the questionable grammar)?

How much money did we spend?

Why am I both full of emotion yet in empty despair?

The denouement of Aaron’s high school graduation and Nate’s graduation from the United States Military Academy needed their own proper time. Kind of like my arthritic right knee, there wasn’t and isn’t any cushion.

After a graduation celebration with some of Nate’s friends and their families, the Hubs and I were driving on Bear Mountain Bridge.

Nate and I after the graduation parade. I really loved that shining brass buckle. Very shiny.

Our tummies were full of delicious food from Foodies and it was early evening.

The United States Military Academy, an outline of the stately concrete structures were off in the distance.

The view called out to my mama’s heart.

Amber lights sparkled from the windows, the Hudson River sat tranquil and tears streamed from my eyes.

Tears are currently streaming from my eyes as I type this, thank you very much.

Cadets are still in these rooms, I thought to myself.

They are busy doing things, I mused, but strangely, my boy is no longer there.

How could that be???  His (and thusly my) 47 month journey had ended just hours before and everyone had seemingly moved on.

Ring Weekend was such a beautiful night! Now it’s all done!

Nate was ready.

I guess I was not.

As the Hubs kept his eyes on the road, I couldn’t help but reach out and grab that little West Point with my fingers.

Between my thumb and my pointer finger, I held West Point there as long as I could before we passed it by.

I can never grasp what this place has meant to my OS or to me.

I can find reasons to return to West Point but none will be for my boy as a plebe, yuk, cow or firstie.

The pangs of this reality sting and confuse.

He loved that place.

He hated it.

It was so far away.

I loved coming there.

What tumult of spirit!

No sooner had Nate graduated from USMA, then he bolted from Michie Stadium along with nearly 1000 other newly commissioned officers and finished turning in all their stuff.

There wasn’t any sentiment in the departure and it reminded me of the 90 second goodbye we had been issued on R-Day, that never to be forgotten day.

No built-in cushion there that’s for sure.

Pride, humility, loss, gain, and so much more jumble inside.

I expect to be working through these experiences and emotions for quite some time because that’s what a mama does, right?

My boy, that uniform, what memories

I’d love to hear from you if you can relate. West Point mom or not, you might empathize. Thanks for listening…

My boy, that uniform, what memories

8 thoughts on “Sorting and savoring, two graduations, 10 days apart

  1. Everyone of your posts hit me directly, both in my heart and the tear spouts that seem to fill and then overflow. We, too had two graduations, West Point on the 26th and my daughter's HS graduation back in TN on the 27th. There is so much, no too much, to process for both of the events. You help me identify the rambling inside of me…my son is so glad to be done with USMA, but we are done too. I no longer have a cadet, I have a 2nd LT (and all of his stuff that isn't fitting in our house anymore). He is a little empty with his time, I feel cranky at best, teary too.I try to relate the graduation experience to others and I can't fully describe it. I wish we we had met to hug.. but so glad we have your blog.. you say what I am feeling… hugs to you, my friend!

  2. Oh thank you sweet mamas! I didn't mention the crabby part and the associated emotions for fear of being too raw. I told my oldest OS that I would appreciate him cleaning his room up a bit. How weird was that? I said, it doesn't have to be SAMI clean but it would be nice if he could make some effort. We are all adjusting, blessed and challenged. Thanks for your comments, I welcome them and find joy in our common bonds.

  3. Wow. This is me over the next month. The tears are hiding well but not sure how long that will last.

    • I’ve never been especially gifted at hiding tears. Apparently it’s well known in my extended family that I cry very easily, it’s funny because I think I hide it! Tender hearted people feel things intensely and it’s perfectly understandable that next month will be emotional. Just have tissues! Bless you!

  4. Gah!!!!! I suppose, this is a “good problem” to have…..but if it is so good, why am I so torn up about it? It IS nice to know we are not alone. Oh the emotions West Point has caused….I was insanely jealous of the mom’s who were able to make it to things like Ring Weekend, etc. I felt robbed because we were only able (financially) to attend events like R-Day and A-Day… Plebe Parent Weekend for us nor any other event for that matter. Now that we are planning to attend graduation, I am finding mom’s that won’t even be able to attend THAT and my heart breaks for them. Now we have a new set of fear and worry with BOLC and Ranger School……I suppose it never ends. Thank God they have mom’s like us who will always pray for them. Hopefully, someone is out there praying for us….

    • I know it is not possible for everyone to do all the events and heartbreaking to imagine parents that desperately want to be there and can’t for one reason or another. Enjoy the time with your firstie and savor the moments that you have been given. Congratulations on your cadet’s accomplishment!

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