High school graduation.
I knew it was coming, was on the way, but now that it’s right here, at my doorstep I don’t want to acknowledge it, at least not yet.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that I participated in his graduation? Wearing the traditional Mortarboard hat and holding his “diploma” in his hand, I was busy taking photographs of my beautiful boy who beamed at us, delighted with all the fanfare and attention being showered upon him on his last day at kindergarten school.
Changing five schools in a short span of eight years as we moved countries, my son graduated from his primary school in Hong Kong. Another big ceremony as we celebrated the move from primary to secondary school which incidentally happened to be just down the road.
We missed the next real graduation from middle to high school due to covid, and only got to watch it LIVE as my masked boy was presented his IGCSE certificate, as we cheered for him through the screen sitting at home. It was disappointing but did not matter much as he was technically going to be in the same school.
But now this graduation from high school is going to be different, very different.
I tried coaching myself. What does “graduation” mean to you? The first thing that comes to mind is “moving on” from something smaller to something bigger. Graduation gives me a goose-bump memory of my own school and my graduation in X grade. I was in a girls-only school and the whole cohort of 90+ students were made to stand on stage to celebrate this proud moment. We were almost sticking to each other as we stood with our hands crossed in front, holding on to each other’s hands, singing “Auld Lang Syne” as instructed by our teachers. I giggled along the song with my best friend next to me, till somewhere midway through the song, the realisation hit me that school was officially over, 13 years of my life spent in this institution and today was the last day and with that thought the floodgate to memories burst open and my tears flowed out without any restraint. Bittersweet is what I recall as an emotion, as I laughed and cried at the same time.
With this graduation my son will move not only his school, but also country. And every time I see this date in my diary or rather my Google calendar, I get the same bittersweet feeling.
Should I be happy and proud that my son is now a big boy (still not used to saying to say ‘adult’), or sad at the thought of him going away from us as I’m going to miss him terribly?
I remember when friends used to tell me about their older kids going away for further education to a foreign country and how empty and sad they felt, I told them very casually that it’s all a part of life and that they shouldn’t be feeling like that, should be happy for their children and all that. Yet here I am standing in their shoes, feeling exactly what they felt. Bittersweet.
Bittersweet is it a coachable emotion? People who are new to coaching often ask me, “What can I be coached on? I don’t have any stress or any major goal that I wish to achieve.” Coaching doesn’t always have to be about big things or big emotions. Coaching can be for smaller yet significant bittersweet moments too.
I am self-coaching as I write this blog, talking to myself, asking myself these coaching questions. What am I taking away from this session? A feeling of lightness, a feeling of “It’s going to be ok.” I know I have done well as a mother when I see my son, look up at him as he has grown up from that cute little obedient toddler to become a handsome, lean and disciplined young man. He is ready to face the world, to learn new things, ready to fly from the nest as I am ready too with my arms wide open, to let him go.
Bittersweet -There is no better way to express this emotion. And it is certainly coachable.
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