It’s early Saturday evening and I sit in BWI awaiting my return flight to Buffalo following my niece Molly’s graduation from Loyola of Baltimore. She was about 2 ½ months old when she attended my graduation from the University of Dayton. I can clearly picture her in the stands. Today our roles were reversed and so much has changed over 20 years. Too much.

Some good things, some bad. And regrets. What I assume are standard yet inescapable regrets. Sinatra was wrong.

You have a lot of time to think during a graduation when there is a class of thousands graduating and you’re only there to see one person. I’m so proud of her and her siblings and all they’ve accomplished thus far…with so much yet to come for them, hopefully mostly good.

I will watch my children graduate in another twenty years or so and I need to make that time count. I don’t know what that means or how to articulate it or even, if I’m honest, how to do it but in parenting as in life we’re all making it up as we go along anyway. Check back with me them to see how I did.

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2 Responses to “graduation”

  1. Hi Peter,

    You make it count by being present and involved – always – , by realizing that, even though time is flying by and you’re frazzled keeping up with all their activities, you’ll miss it all one day, by taking the time to really listen to them, to see them and sometimes, just to love and appreciate them no matter what they’re doing, and by keeping a sense of humor. I agree, there may always be regrets, but as long as you can say that you did the best you could every day, then you’ll know you made it count.

    Here’s a poem I’ve kept because it seemed to sum up the essence of parenting.

    Please Help Me
    by Bud Hadfield

    Please come into my life–
    but don’t try to take over.

    Please help me to think–
    but don’t try to think for me.

    Please help me to find a better way–
    but don’t expect me to do it your way.

    Please help me –even if I’m wrong.
    Help me to stand again–
    but don’t carry me.

    Please help me to move forward again
    even if we move forward in different directions.

    and –last of all–
    if you can’t help me to be what I want to be,
    then please don’t hurt me
    by trying to make me
    what you expect me to be.

  2. Melanie:

    What a wonderful poem and what equally terrific thoughts!

    Your children are very lucky indeed.

    A great gift and very gracious! Thank you very much.

    Best always,
    – Peter