As a parent of a Grade 12 student, I attended my first grad meeting of the year. It felt surreal to acknowledge that my baby, soon turning 18, will be completing this childhood milestone.
When the principal announced the day the graduation ceremonies would take place my heart was warm and proud, but I thought back to times when warmth and pride were not feelings I had for my life.
I was grateful during that meeting that my heart no longer carried that burden.
The date for my son’s graduation is 17 years to the day that I graduated from high school.
My son was 18 months old when I proudly walked on that stage and it was not only my grad day, but my 18th birthday.
So here we are, now planning his grad day on my 35th birthday.
I thought of all those times I was in a room with my parents of my son’s friends - feeling young, awkward and judged. I always assumed people were doing the mental math to determine how old, or rather, how young I was when I had him.
I was enlightened that night at the meeting that there was never a reason to feel out of place or shame and these feelings were things I had put upon my own heart.
I was the judge of all judges and I pray that young struggling parents will stop judging themselves for the choices they made and, instead, thrive with their children and be free of self-destruction.
It is only then that we, as parents, give the gift of life.
I remember daily that if I didn’t have my past I would not have the present and for that I am grateful.
I challenge all who are hearing my story to stop and acknowledge someone in your life that you have judged before hearing the story of their heart.
And I challenge all self-loathing parents to give yourself a break. God did not intend for you hate the life. He graced you with — everything happens for a reason, so don’t ask why. Instead ask, how can I move on with my heart full of love and head held high?
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