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Graduation a reminder that time's short

 


Parents of children who are graduating from school this May or June are in a special club.

I’ve been a member of that club on several occasions. All three of my daughters have graduated from one school or another.

These graduations took years of hard work.

A common sentiment heard over and over again by people who’ve already raised their children is that it’s necessary to warn new parents to remember enjoy your children while they’re young, because it goes by too fast.

Boy, they were right.

It doesn’t matter if your child is going from preschool to elementary school, leaving fifth grade for middle school or heading off to high school or leaving home for college. Graduation is graduation – no matter what the grade is.

We parents all know the trials and tribulations experienced by our kids and ourselves as they soldier on toward adulthood.

The first milestone is getting them out of infancy and into preschool, which means they must be toilet trained.

After preschool, we guide them through the fear of kindergarten, where we hope they’ve gotten the best their school has to offer as far as learning how to share and play together and how to take turns.

Once they’ve made it through elementary school, it’s time for middle school or junior high as it used to be called back in the day. We quickly learn how to maneuver junior high school, high school and finally college.

As the years fly by, we, as parents, often ask ourselves, will it ever end? Will I ever be free from worry or concern about my kids?

Well, folks, you never stop worrying about your kids. They are always in the front of your mind as you experience your own struggle through getting older.

My girls all graduated at some time while living in Kern County. The youngest from Stockdale Elementary in Bakersfield, the middle and oldest from Actis Junior High in Bakersfield, and only the oldest went to high school in Bakersfield, graduating from Bakersfield High.

Each daughter triggers a special memory for me. The funniest thing I remember about my oldest, Colleen, is when I made homemade tuna-noodle casserole with peas.

While sitting in her high chair, she told me she was all done, and I praised her for eating all of her dinner and cleaning her bowl; however, once I got her to bed and began cleaning the kitchen floor under her high chair, I noticed she had sucked all the peas out of the noodles and spit them on the floor. Every noodle was inhaled while every pea was evidence of an unseen mess to clean.

My middle daughter was always the oldest of her group because she has a late December birthday and didn’t start kindergarten until she was almost 6 years old. Libby was the one who had all the friends. Everyone wanted to be with Libby and spend the night with her. Little did they know, she would call me almost every time she was at someone’s house to come get her because her stomach hurt? She didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings about spending the night, so she always said yes.

My youngest, Laura, was the character of the family. She is the one who stuck raisins in her nose while I was driving back to Bakersfield from Los Angeles, which meant a quick stop at the pediatrician’s office to remove the raisins.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe these girls are now grown women.

Sometimes I wish there were do-overs, and I know so many parents feel the same. I wish I could go back and relive their toddler stage and school days so I could really take the time to enjoy the moments.

As you watch your child graduate, cherish the memories of them when they were little and embrace them as they become adults.

Toni DeRosa is editor of the Wasco Tribune. Comments expressed in her column are not necessarily those of the Tribune.

 

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