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I hope that your summer is going well. I’ve finally calmed down after my son Gianni’s graduation. I don’t remember a time when I was more joyful.
I was one of the loudest parents at the event. I was so happy that he was graduating from Eastern High School at 16 years of age. In March of 2008, I decided that I would figure out a way for Gianni to graduate early. He had enough credits and it seemed he was bored. I figured that now was the time before I lost him in a sea of confusion.
Now I’ve been dealing with empty nest syndrome even though he technically hasn’t left the home yet.
He went to a summer camp program sponsored by the Civitans and he came back a different and mature young man. It was a week long diversity conference and there were teenagers there from all over the country and Canada.
He said it was the best time that he had in his entire life. I thought, “My child is growing up and seeing the world and no longer will a trip to the movies including a Dr. Pepper and popcorn make me the coolest person that he knew.”
A few weeks later as I walked around the campus of Lansing Community College to enroll him, I began to get teary eyed again.
I remembered what it was like preparing to go to college. I had the benefit of Upward Bound, which is a program that helps first time college bound students with the issues surrounding the process.
My parents didn’t pay for me to go to college and I struggled financially because they made too much money for me to get financial aid.
I don’t know where I got the stamina from to prepare all of my paperwork and visit school by myself at 17.
I watched Gianni cringe every time I knelt beside him to offer a helping hand in signing up for his first semester at college.
He finally rolled his eyes and pointed to a chair in the corner and smiled and said, “You sit over there.”
I sheepishly took the chair in the corner and came to the realization that I was being phased out as the primary caregiver. My son’s positive experiences of graduating and attending a leadership conference gave him confidence strike out on his own.
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