Friday, May 14, 2010

My Job is Done

Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.
Erma Bombeck

Tomorrow, my middle son, Jordan, will move to a new town and begin his new job. When he returns home, he will have his own home, now only arriving at mine as a visitor. I'm trying not to think about all that means, instead choosing to express my confidence for his success in the world. A poker face, laden on the inside with wonder at how quickly the time of raising him passed.

All along I felt my job was to teach my children independence. My heart holds a two-faced reaction to the accomplishment of that goal. One of pride for their success and one of sorrow that they no longer need me like they once did. Selfish, perhaps. I admit it.

Last weekend we had the distinct pleasure of attending Jordan's college graduation from Northern Arizona University. Very proud of him. Jordan didn't talk until he was 4 and didn't read until 3rd grade. Teachers said he'd never do well in school. Perhaps I should mail them a copy of his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.

Now he moves to another town to begin his career in Wildlife Management. Employed. Self-sufficient. Off our payroll.

And the best part? Only three hours away instead of 17.

He had planned on antlers for his mortarboard, but came up with this instead. He wanted it to read "My Job Here is Done", but ran out of room for the "here" part. My husband -- glad to hear he knew more work lies ahead. His job at college is done, but he embarks on the world and a career working with wildlife, as he hoped. What fun to come as that path evolves.

I am having such trouble with this new camera, but I thought this looked cool.

Proud parents and grandparents.

Such fun we had in Flagstaff, Arizona. Great town. Beautiful location. Enjoyed our time with Jordan and his friends. We stayed at this funky, old hotel. I'm not sure my in-laws enjoyed it as much as my husband and me.

Definitely had cocktails in the lounge.
Proud and happy Dad.

Had an incredible meal to celebrate Jordan's success. With beautiful food - like this dish. Grilled leg of lamb, Mole Style Lamb Chilaquiles, Salsa Roja, and Queso Seco. Incredible. I wish my kids could graduate every day.

Now, on to the high school graduation of my youngest. I can begin grieving for that son who leaves for college in the fall. However, he'll only be a mere 12 hours away. Much easier for me as that is only a day's drive, instead of two.

As for Jordan, like his mortarboard said, my job is done. I think (I know better.)


May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.
Irish Blessing


  1. Love the Irish blessing.. you must be very proud.
    Lovely photos, lovely family xx

  2. I love the Irish blessing too. The magnitude of these 30 days just really hit me: oldest--married; middle: graduating college and with a job; youngest: graduating high have much to be proud of..and much reason to celebrate and put your feet up.

  3. What a wonderful mother and human being you are Julie, I'm sure your sons are very proud of you. It looks like you and your husband have done a wonderful job of raising 3 wonderful boys. Take a deep breath and enjoy the sound of silence and put all your energy into that beautiful relationship you have with your husband. A whole new life of surprises awaits you. Love you my friend. Big hugs.....:-)

  4. Forgot to tell you....your job is never.done. There will be grandchildren to guide and worry about but "ain't life wonderful"
    Big hugs....:-)

  5. My condolences and congratulations all at the same time. I'm already worried about this same topic and my kids is only 7. Yikes!

  6. This post really spoke to me as my oldest is getting ready to graduate HS next month and move on to college (thankfully, only 2 1/2 hours away). I'm trying very hard to wrap my mind around the idea that she will no longer be living under my roof 24/7. I will no longer be a part of her everyday life. Raising her has been a joy and struggle and I simply can believe my job as her day-to-day parent is almost over. I feel as though I still have so much more to teach her. And I pray I taught her enough.

  7. A huge congratulations going out to you, Mom and Dad! Job well done.. OH, and I Iove seeing the San Francisco Peaks in the background on that photo! I love Flagstaff!

    The Blue Ridge Gal
    (formerly of Arizona)

  8. I like Bernie's comments...I agree with her completely, Julie. You're experiencing so many milestones and emotions. Life is good at every stage.

  9. A mother may let of her son's hand but never his heart, Roland

    Good fortune in the future, finding your own path, Roland

  10. What a month you've had, Julie. So much to be proud of. And your nest will never be truly'll have wonderful memories to keep you company, and granddogs and then grandkids to babysit!

  11. You are passing many milestones all at once, Julie. You are allowed to rejoice, be proud, and grieve a little.

    And you know? You are not through with any of them yet. They may be gone and independent, but they are still your children and you will always think about them, worry about them, help them in many ways and best of all be there for them if they need you.

    And as Bernie says--Wait until the grandchildren arrive! Joys you have never experienced even with your own.

  12. Congrats to Jordan on his great accomplihsment, and what a great career he has chosen! You are so blessed, cher! And yes I think that you should send these former teachers a copy of his degree! Love that retro hotel and the food looks fab! Two down and one to go! Cheers!

  13. Nice finish to your story, that blessing...on down the road of life...congratulations, Julie, and you're all looking mighty good!!!

  14. Even adult children still need Mom's advice, comforting, etc.... and then grandkids are the reward for a job well done!

  15. I guess the advantage of having so much happen in such a small time frame is that it's over quickly! Congratulations, mom, on raising three great kids.

  16. I remember the time I passed through this place different years with both of my now young adults. It is bittersweet, but you will make it otothe other side.

  17. This made me smile, as did the photos -- CONGRATS to your son, and to you for raising a fine son *smiling*

  18. You shouldn't have said 'I was having such trouble with the camera' then you would have got loads of comments on how arty your picture taking is and how the deliberate blurring is so effective.

  19. Congratulations! Both to your graduate, and to you. You've both done well.

    Thanks for the touching post. I think any mom, regardless of her kids' ages, can relate to the love and separation here.

  20. I know, it's so bittersweet isn't it? Congrats on Jordan's success, and glad to hear the early predictions didn't pan out at all!

    The next half of your adventuresome life is just beginning... enjoy the ride!!

  21. This is so moving! A perfect ending and a perfect beginning. As parents you can't ask for me than this! Well done!

  22. You guys look awful young to have a son getting married, another one graduating from college. What? Were you twelve when you had kids? ;-P

  23. When my children were little, I imagined the day when they would leave, embark on their own lives, but what I hadn't foreseen was there would be several leave-takings. And I certainly didn't imagine back then that I would also be the one to leave, although I return regularly. The emptying of the nest is taking much longer than I would have thought, and that's all good, as it gives me time to adjust.
    My eldest son and daughter have been back and forth, and the first time they left was the hardest. How it will feel when the youngest finally leaves for the first time, I don't know.

    Your 'two-faced' reaction is entirely common and natural. I pity the parents - usually mothers - who cannot let go of their children. You have done a good job of preparing your boys to be independent, it seems.
    Glad for you that Jordan will be geographically closer than before - the emotional closeness you seems to have with your sons will endure.

  24. What a wonderful post. Best wishes for a long a wonderful life for your darling son. How proud you must be. You did well, Mom. :-)

  25. Congrats to your boy.. and to his proud family. I know those mixed feelings well. My boy graduates next week. You're a lovely looking family. Your son looks like both of you.. but mostly like his dad. I wish your boy a life filled with learning and love. Congrats on the fine job you did raising him.

  26. I know that feeling well. Your heart is swelling and breaking at the same time.

  27. After the life transitions of your recent months, you're going to need therapy. Or a HUGE martini.

    Every night. For ten months.

    Do be proud; what a mother you are and have been!

    Oh, and that hotel? Killer cool.

  28. Thank you so much for sharing the stories and the pictures. What amazing boys you raised. I definitely think sending a copy of the degree to that teacher is a great idea. Congrats all around. How are you hanging in?

  29. Your post made me sad, at first, as it reminded me of the changes that arrived in my life as well, as children come and go (and come again). But then I remembered, change is life, the impermanence of life ebbs and flows steadily as the tide, and I guess the trick is to really enjoy each moment, and each change, as it comes and goes. Your family photos are marvelous, and you look happy. Good times, these times.

  30. A good job with benefits, their own's thrilling. Then the phone rings over a heart break and I realize the job is never really done.

    But it's good.

  31. Congratulations to Jordan, and to you, for a job well done! (and a job about to be done well) Heck of a roller coaster you're on this spring. Hang on!

  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  33. Well that just made me cry.

    Thanks a lot.

    I know exactly what you're saying and it really resonated with me. But now comes a fabulous new phase of your life.

    Shall we drink to that?

  34. Well done! You've sure as heck earned the right to be proud!

  35. congratulations (belated, I know)
    I hope to be in this bittersweet spot in a few years. How blessed you are.

  36. Love the Hotel Monte Vista. My husband and I stayed there many years ago; we tend to enjoy the historical places. Glad you enjoyed Flagstaff. My sister lived there for many years until recently, so I've had the opportunity to spend much time there. I'm looking forward to a drive over sometime soon just to enjoy the town and do a little hiking.


Let me know what you think. Every word you write, I appreciate.


Related Posts with Thumbnails