Planning a Family?, Better Check the Graduation Schedule First

May 1, 2009 | By More

Lately I have been thinking that my husband and I should have given a little more thought to family planning. Actually, it probably would be more like we should have exercised a little bit more self- control, but that is a completely different story.

There are two distinct camps when it comes to family planning. Those who plan the birth of every child to the letter, and those who plan to have as many as God gives when He gives them. It looks like we temporarily and accidently fell into camp number two.

I am not sure these people would claim us since they planned to have their children that way and we just kinda went, ‘oops, we did it again.’ We had a better plan than “oops” but it got lost along the way.

Our plan looked like this: I would finish college, work for a few years, and around age 26, I would have a child every two years until we reached four little bundles of joy. Due to that lack of self- control mentioned previously bundle number one popped out at age 22 and bundle number four popped out at age 27. Not exactly the two years apart we had planned.

Some would question why I have devoted so much time and energy to this topic considering my children are 22, 19 and 18 years of age. I know it is akin to closing the barn door after the horse is out – what’s the point right?

This ‘family-planning fixation’ was set off as I looked at my calendar for the month of May and it dawned on me we had created a monster.

I had a child graduating from college one weekend and a child graduating from high school the next. This is not good. Okay, yes, it is good, but having two graduations in one week can make life complicated.

Both graduations are a big deal, but the older two boys had their “day in the sun” all by themselves. I was feeling guilty that my baby boy might not get all the attention the other two had enjoyed upon their high school graduation.

I could make it a joint celebration but then Payton would not have his very own special day as the others had had. It did not help that I was already feeling badly about my lack of enthusiasm for some of this year’s senior events.

Running the high school senior gauntlet two years in a row is exhausting. If I had planned better I would have had a year or two to rest between senior trips, senior pictures, senior prom, after prom, after-prom skit, graduation announcements, college visits and graduation ceremonies.

What am I to do? Do I down play the college graduation just to make the high school one the main event? Just the thought of that makes me feel guilty. Also, what are family members to do? Do they come for the graduation on Saturday and stay the entire week for the next graduation on Friday? Lord, help me that could be a long week.

Do they come one weekend only to turn around and come back the next weekend? Do they choose one over the other? How do they choose? Of course, I feel guilty for putting them in this situation. Once again, I should have planned better. Where was the public service announcement warning me of all these consequences?

What about announcements? Do I send announcements for both graduations? That means some people will feel obligated to send two gifts. I feel guilty about that. So, do I just announce the high school graduate’s accomplishment and ignore the college graduate? I feel guilty about that. What’s a mother to do?

Then to top it all off, in the midst of this guilt and angst, I suddenly remember the poor middle child. Sometime in the month of May we have to go get him from Oklahoma State and bring him home for the summer. We had almost forgotten about him. I feel guilty about that.

I have joked that he is going to have to sit on the curb with all his stuff and just wait for us to find time to come get him. It is somewhat funny but I still feel guilty. The poor boy is finishing his first year of college and no one has time to notice.

So now my May looks like this: Mother’s Day weekend — go get Dillon from Oklahoma State University; the next weekend Adrin graduates from Arkansas Tech; the next weekend Payton graduates from Russellville High School, and the next weekend mom collapses. (I think that is sometime in June.)

Therefore, a word of warning. I know many families plan their children four years apart so to avoid having two in college at the same time. That is all well and good, but I am warning you — you had better have a plan for a dual college and high school graduation.

I think three years works really well. Yes, you will have one year of overlap for college. However, in my book, that is easier than deciding who gets the bigger celebration for graduation… and it involves a lot less guilt.

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Category: Every Day Life

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