Kristina Beers: Graduation is a necessary step away from home

By Kristina Beers

Special to the Pioneer
Over this past weekend, Beers Boy No. 3 finalized his high school career at Commencement exercises on Friday. Even though it was the third time around for me, I will hastily admit none of the moving pieces gets any easier to deal with as a mother.

I have the pleasure of seeing his handsome self in his tie, gown, and cap; but my mind plays tricks on me and in a flash, I see a little 4-year-old at Headstart “graduation,” his smile the same, my heart melting into a lump at the pit of my stomach. I am incredibly proud of him, no doubt, but the pain is sharp, a sword of love wielding its power to slay a mother’s soul.

I am most definitely a proud parent. With the third, at least I have no illusions of what I must do to the apron strings and the (multiple opportunities to) practice to let go. I am fervent in my support of him, knowing full well he has a grand future ahead as he is solid in what he plans to pursue.

Although, to be honest, I could have said the same at graduation in regards to Beers Boy No. 2 and that took a significant 180-degree turn at Easter of last year. It is with familiarity of the terrain that I can be a tad more flexible with No. 3 and urge him onto the Roads Not Taken and stand ready to deal with the switchbacks and advice of a mom.

All of this still leaves me with a heavy, pierced heart that I am to ponder upon. It is not my job, anymore, to make sure he washes his underwear and has socks that do not have holes in them. I could say a great many other offenses moms have to deal with when raising boys, but this one is a predictable man who even matches his socks when hanging them on the laundry line. He, who faithfully does his laundry on Wednesdays, will go far at least in the organization portion of living on his own. (I’m kinda hoping he will set a little order to older brother while they are across the miles together.) He has a great cache of strengths and skills at his disposal.

It’s everything else I’m worried about. We moms lack for naught in the worry department, but I believe it’s because we are those closest and, therefore, most observant to the ones we love. We see clearly the weaknesses and gaps the boys have — more often, we fill those gaps and fortify those weaknesses without even consciously doing so. It’s when we are faced with the reality of children leaving home we see what we have done, where we have enabled him to carry on as if nothing were wrong, secretly securing his stop-gap safety net. I am as guilty as any other mom.

However, the knowledge I do so is also a call to action to Stop Doing So and let him learn on his own. You and I hear so very often about adult children coming back home to live with mom and dad, significantly males, while they set about to make a life. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in Millennials, of which my children belong to the front lines. This does not make for a strong society; in fact, it weakens the very backbone of what our nation was built upon: headstrong, intelligent, restless young men who were most definitely not babied by mama.

In days of old, a young man would have been expected to venture out on his own to study and make a life for himself. His community supported him as well as his family. I don’t see that very much now and it is a shame.

We allow for a man to continue to act as a boy until he “figures things out.”  I will not be apologetic when I say I want more for my sons; I want him to be very much alive and fully so, bringing honor to his family, his community, and his nation. Each one of these precious souls has a place in our societies, bringing unique gifts that no other can. It is with great pleasure (lumpy, melty heart and all) that I send out the next Beers for the finishing work in his intellect so that he may return and share his gifts with you and I.

Kristina Beers lives in the Remus area with her husband and five sons. She shares her thoughts on parenting teenagers and young adults on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

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