High-school graduation is a heartwarming rite of passage that can make you go bonkers if you don't navigate it correctly.
"It's amazingly similar to planning a wedding," says Christina Ramirez, who's in the head-spinning midst of her daughter Julianne's graduation from Tampa Prep.
Grad parties, grad gifts, grad announcements, grad thank-you notes, grad dinners, grad logistics -- not to mention planning Julianne's looming future at the University of Alabama.
"It's stressful," says Julianne about the process. "It's kind of scary."
"Everybody has this wild look in their eyes like, 'Oh my gosh, I hope I can get through all of this!'" adds Christina.
But the mother-daughter duo learned a few valuable lessons through the process:
Perfection is unattainable so don't bother. "Let yourself off the hook from making everything just so," says Christina.
Parents need to delegate duties to the grads themselves. Not only will it help the process, it teaches them that last nudge of self-reliance as they start the next chapter of life. Christina is making Julianne send out her graduation announcements. Also: Make your kids decide on/make reservations at a restaurant for graduation dinner. And make sure they know exactly where/when to go during the grad ceremony itself.
"A lot of lists, a lot of lists," says Christina. Graduation (hopefully) won't be as daunting if you write it all down.
Practical stuff: Charge your phone. Wear sensible shoes to the graduation (or at least keep the comfy ones close). Plan to arrive everywhere 30 minutes early -- even more if you can manage. Trust us on that one.
- Enjoy, and live in, the moment. Easier said than done, sure, but you only get to do this once with each child. Step back, breathe deep, and take in the joy.
We want to congratulate all of this year's high-school graduates in the Tampa Bay area. And to all you parents of grads, nice job!