I Missed My Kid’s Graduation

I missed my kid’s graduation today.

His 8th grade graduation.

His 8th grade graduation that he worked toward for 3 years.

His 8th grade graduation that he worked toward for 3 years while also negotiating expressive and receptive language disorders, crippling anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and various other delays.

HE MADE IT THROUGH MIDDLE SCHOOL, friends, and his mama just totally blew it on the celebration end.

Blew it, blew it. Like Chernobyl.

I missed my kid’s graduation today, and I don’t even have a good excuse. I just didn’t read the emails from the school as thoroughly as I should have. It was there. In all the newsletters. I know it was, because I raced back to them today after my Facebook feed filled up with all my friends’ pictures of 8th grade graduation, hoping to find out they’d never told me so I could shift the blame. Alas, no such luck. I just… missed it.

I’ve gotta say, I feel like poo.

A giant, steaming pile o’ poo.

Mama poo.

Pffttt.

So I did what any wise, experienced, knowledgeable mama would do in my shoes.

I freaked out.

Flipped.

All woe is me and I suck ALL THE BALLS. 

And I sent my husband a delightful string of instant messages that said things like, “HOW DID WE MISS THIS?!” and “NOW WE HAVE TO BUY HIM CHINESE FOOD FOR DINNER. UGH!” and “FUCK! FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!”

I said that last one because I am mature in the Lord.

Also, Jesus still loves me, this I know, because Jesus, historically speaking, has very low standards, and he seems to be partial to people who are a raging mess.

And then, after I was done freaking out… and after I finished apologizing to Greg for all the fucks… I calmed down and formulated a plan.

A strong plan.

A good plan.

A plan that involved Three Important Parenting Pillars, as follows:

  1. Modeling How to Apologize and Ask for Forgiveness
  2. Bribery
  3. Using This Teachable Moment to Help My Kid Learn Essential Life Skills

After I was done Implementing the Plan, I asked Ian if he’d help me make a video so we might use this situation to help educate other parents should they ever do something so awful to their kid. He agreed, and so I leave you with this:

Teaching Life Skills
by Beth and Ian Woolsey

Yours Truly,

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
17 comments
  1. […] and, not to brag, but I’ve truly honed this skill over the years. I’ve forgotten my kid’s graduation; I forgot what time school started for an entire semester; and I once forgot my own pants. So […]

  2. Of course I am just getting caught up on my dose of Beth… Love your video. PRICELESS! If it makes you feel any better…. I missed Chandler’s 8th Grade Graduation last year…. but in my defense as a single mom I usually didn’t read any of the notes that came home anyway cause I was too busy working but I love how sweet you and your son were to post a video that you can go back and remember even if it wasn’t graduation, it was about missing it. You made a memory! Good Job!!! I still failed and sometimes continue to but I tell my kids it’s because I am so busy being a mom and a dad so they have to cut me some slack because all I do I do for them!

    Hugs – Tasha

  3. The week my parents separated was also the week that Gilmore Girls AND Party of Five were first released on DVD.

    I still have them 😉

  4. LOL, love this. Yes, headphones are a must! Think that is a fair payment to dampen the guilt. In the market for some myself for my son who has sensory issues to muffle loud outside noises to friendly levels but also be able to listen to things he wants to hear. Like Caspar Babypants Stompy the Bear twenty times in a row. So if you have any you like and wouldn’t mind sharing any suggestions.
    ? Congratulations to your amazing son, awesome achievement!

  5. Can I just say, the post ROCKS!!! Because even though I know the hurt your momma heart feels for missing that, I totally empathize…. I love that after the video, you know how they give you recommended videos to watch, based on what you just viewed…. It gave me an absolutely serious video entitled ” teaching life skills through drama”!!!!!! LOL 😉

  6. I teach in a middle school. One of the mom’s at graduation looked super flustered and asked if we’d sent home info about the event. I told her yes. She said she only knew about it when her son walked out in a tie. She said, “Why are you dressed up?” He lied and said, “No reason.” She called the school and found out about the event that her kid totally tried to hide from her.

    Point being, most 8th grade boys kind of don’t want their parents near them at all. So maybe yours secretly felt the same way. 🙂

  7. This reminds me of how I totally forgot to include my eldest son (who is my special needs child, but who lives somewhat independently in his own apartment about 10 miles away from our home) in the plans to go to our youngest son’s college graduation. I just assumed with all the talk we had going on about going away to youngest son’s graduation that eldest son knew he was included in going along. But eldest son doesn’t have the processing skills to “get” that concept (part of his special needs) so he didn’t have a clue as to which weekend actually was youngest son’s graduation until a couple days before we were scheduled to leave. It wouldn’t have been a problem if eldest son wasn’t on the schedule to work at the same time as graduation and he has a very specialized job for which getting a replacement requires much advance notice and preparation. So eldest son didn’t get to go to youngest son’s college graduation and every time I look at the pictures from that weekend I cry a little bit because there is no way I can ever make it up to both of my boys for screwing up a great family celebration that they both were looking forward to.
    Thanks for letting me know that I’m not the worst mother in the whole wide world! However, I will NOT be showing eldest son your and Ian’s video. I don’t want him to know how much he potential he has for getting whatever he wants from me. =)

  8. Thank you thank you thank you for the video!! You are an awesome mama-we ALL screw up sometimes. You just have the nerve to share it with all us other f*ed up mamas. THANK YOU for sharing.

    Love you in the Lord!!
    Pam~

  9. Beth, you are my FAVORITE, for sharing the f-bombs and the heartache and the funny and the tragic and the EVERYTHING that is parenting. I see so many Christian bloggers who try too hard to “keep it clean” and in prettying up life, they end up putting on a false face of forced joy that just doesn’t ring true, or painting everything with a hint of tragedy, that ends up feeling like false humility.

    Thank you, SO MUCH, for keeping it real, Sister. I need to know, sometimes, that I’m not the only one who forgets, who fails, and who has to get back up and keep on trying.
    ((hugs)) and a huge CONGRATS to your son! That’s a big achievement. I cried when mine graduated 8th last year. Cried again this year as I made the decision to pull him back to homeschooling, after our attempt to return to public school resulted in his being prescribed an anti-anxiety med that was developed for soldiers who suffer with PTSD.

    God’s got this. We’re so lucky, as imperfect Mamas, to be able to be here and see His plan unfold. <3 Keep on being awesome!

  10. This is amazing. I think the video shows that he probably still thinks you’re an ok mom. 😉 Thanks for reminding us to just lean into the muck instead of trying to fix it real quick and hope no one notices. Which is probably what I would’ve done.

  11. Beth, I’m so glad I can count on you to make me feel better as a parent. Yesterday there was this thing going around FB about how some woman’s kid kept asking to cuddle with her but she was too busy and eventually he decided to give up on asking. I felt like a mommy fail. And then today…bamm I’m a winner all because of you! THANK YOU! 🙂

  12. That video was absolutely precious! Thank you for that glimpse further into your life and family!

  13. This is fantastic! My kid’s school has honor roll assemblies every quarter, and they keep getting longer and longer. What used to take 15 minutes three years ago now takes over an hour. It’s excruciating, and I just can’t do it four times a year anymore. I can’t. So this year I flat out used bribery to get out of going. Halfway through the year, I asked, “Would you rather I show up at your school and clap for 10 seconds, or would you rather we celebrate your amazing achievements with ice cream later?” Ice cream wins every time. Graduation is a little bit different, but I am definitely in full support of bribery.

  14. I missed my triplets 8th grade graduation this week, but on purpose. The logistics required is being there for 4 hours and I felt it would be ridiculous when we had more fun things planned. Fortunately my kids agreed with me and we’re happy to just get their shirts and certificates later. But I have missed plenty of birthday parties (because I didn’t plan them) and messed up on not attending awards ceremonies, etc. So yeah, I feel for you! Maybe you can have a family celebration and personal graduation event for him?

  15. That was very funny. Good actor!

  16. Get the boy some headphones!!! The phone is a bit much, but the headphones are a must.

    Ian, you must keep your foot. Sorry, Dude.

  17. Oh, this is golden! I’ll make sure to show it to my kids the next time I miss a major event (oh,and believe me, they’re WILL be a next time) so they can learn from your son’s mad guilt-manipulating skills.

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