Post-partum graduation.

so proudFor a few weeks now, I’ve been feeling a bit empty, sad, anxious and blue.

I attribute this to the fact that my darling daughter just graduated college with honors… which you might think would leave me breathless with pride, wonder and joy. Well, of course it did!  But I’ve also been blindsided by the fact that this means that Lulu is really, truly grown up and she’ll probably never live at home anymore (which of course is what I want for her… to the point where my graduation gift to her was 100,000 airline miles).  Obviously, I’m all over the place in my emotions and don’t even understand them myself.

The closest I got to the stage was the personal!

The closest I got to the stage was the monitor…how personal!

The graduation, which I was totally prepared to sob through, was actually hilarious due to the fact it was blinding rain, freezing cold, utterly chaotic and horribly mismanaged (thanks, St. John’s!) … and we were sitting in front of a massively entertaining Jersey woman with the mouth of a truck driver who gave heartfelt running commentary on the whole nutty ceremony.

Lulu & her boyfriend -- wet but all graduated!

Lulu & her boyfriend Jarel — damp, but all graduated!

But now it’s all over. I’m home; Lulu’s up in New York for the summer, and I’m feeling blue.

Am I the only mother who is tripped up emotionally in these big moments of transition when you’re supposed to feel happy, but you actually feel …lonesome??

22 thoughts on “Post-partum graduation.

    • Now that Lulu’s all graduated — AND she got her straight As for the final semester — AND she got two jobs (as of Friday) for the summer — one’s at the Bronx Zoo!! — AND she’s come home for four days of shopping & R & R … YES!!! I am happy happy happy at last! Blues are gone .. whoeeeee!

  1. I think it only gets BETTER as they get older and are gone. Not because they are gone, although there were days….but because they are flying on their own, making mistakes and hopefully learning from them. It makes the occasional visit home that much sweeter because they are finding their way out there in the big bad world. Betty, I say take a bow. Lulu got some pretty powerful Londergan genes, independent, beautiful, smart…and devoted to family. No doubt Lulu will be just fine and you will too when you realize all your hard work, teaching her and loving her gave her those wings.

    Congrats to both of you!

  2. Betty, the older I get, the more I realize there are no pure emotions. At least not for me, and I bet not for you either. Every feeling, especially at these milestone events, is complicated by two or three other feelings — all saying, “Yes, but what about this? And this? And don’t forget this.”

    You may be a bit “empty, sad, anxious and blue,” and even a little lonesome. But you’re definitely not alone.

    Congratulations, Lulu!

    • Thanks for the perceptive insight, BB — and it’s good to know that DADS go through this gamut of emotions, too. Life really isn’t simple after all .. wonder why i ever believed it would be!

  3. Beautiful heartfelt post Betty. Sadly our kids are “lent” to us for such a short time.
    My congratulations to Lulu on graduating college with honors 😀
    love the photo of the two of you.

    • Thanks, Rosie!! I looked like a drowned rat after all that time in the rain, but doesn’t Lulu look radiant??! I agree about the “lent to us” part … but in my heart, I’ll never accept it — and as a friend of mine recalled, I’ve been freaking out about Lulu leaving since she was born! I’m the real baby ….

  4. Betty – I cannot believe it is true – that little Lulu has finished being educated !!! Where have all those years gone. It feels like yesterday when you were in Barcelona with her and she was literally an extension of you. And she is so so pretty (Sam aged 19 caught sight of the photo of her and said “who is that………………she is unbelievably gorgeous.’ So congratulations on all fronts she is a real credit to you xxx

    • Lulu!! As the inspiration for her great name, you’ll be happy to know that she has lived up to your fearlessness & adventurous spirit (well, maybe not entirely… you’re a hard act to follow!!) I still think of those early early days in Barcelona and how GENEROUS you were to invite me & baby Lulu to stay in that apartment with you — what was I thinking?? But oh boy, how fast the time goes!! Is Sam at Oxford with Freya, too?? I am absolutely coming over there before this year is over — it’s been WAY too long!! All love to Sam, Phoebe & Theo & Jonty … I MISS YOU!! xoxoxo b
      (And p.s. she’s just as pretty on the inside! )

    • Oh, Chris — ain’t that the truth!! I remember my brother telling me that the first ten years, you can’t believe how much they need you and how hard that is … and then the next ten years, you realize how much you need them and they just are trying to get away from you. Ha!!! Love your comment, Mom!

  5. Meredith’s college graduation, moving home for 6 months with an internship, and then moving to Asheville for a new job … Well, it was much harder for me than the long ride home after getting her settled in her college dorm. Yes, it is exciting and what you want for your daughter, but it is also a sense of “permanent” loss since Meredith probably won’t ever live at our home again. Change isn’t easy! I feel your pain.

    • Oh wow!! Your Meredith is going to be living in Asheville after the summer?? How awesome that she already has a job — Lulu hasn’t nailed that one down yet! Congratulations on her accomplishments (and yours) — wow, where did that college time go???

  6. Oh … so true, Deb!! And that’s what is so confusing — of course you want them to be independent and self-supporting and grown-up! But then, why does it seem like loss, when it’s really a celebration of your parenting — you did what you were supposed to do! Got them launched!! I totally laughed when you said you were through with tuition bills .. until … But vet school sounds like a great career path, even for a photographer!! Congrats on that! (and we’ll see if Lulu heads for grad school or not …. not right now, that’s for sure. She’s so happy to be done with school!)

  7. OMG! I cried my eyes out when all three of my children graduated from university. Yes, I went through all of the same emotions as you. Overwhelming. I think even more so because their father and I are not college graduates. It’s all we ever wanted for them and by golly we did it. Together. It was a triumph for us all and they are all successful adults giving back to the world. Congratulations to you both!

    • I love your comment — and I was always particularly moved at all the graduations I’ve been to (my husband is in higher ed, so I’ve been to a LOT) when I look at the proud faces of the parents who maybe didn’t have the opportunity to go to college themselves. Good for YOU both — and congratulations to your three children who made you so proud!! Thanks for this!!

  8. I think it basically goes with motherhood. All the confusing contradictory thoughts at these major times in life!! Who knows, Lulu could be like my youngest, graduated with honors, best portfolio and given the award of most promising student, but she decided she only loves gallery photography and it won’t pay the bills so now she is going back to school in the fall to finish a few undergrad course required to go to veterinary school. Just when I celebrated a year with no tuition bills!! See there may be another graduation in your future!! Ha!!

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