Currently, my social media news feeds are full of something called Senior Sunday. Just to be clear, this is not a tribute to grandparents or anyone eligible for Medicaid. So if you’re 65+ and are now hyped for a shoutout on Facebook or Instagram, I suggest you adjust your expectations right away.
Indeed, Senior Sunday focuses on a much younger demographic. It is designed as an opportunity for moms and dads to lovingly show off their high school seniors and, at times, be emotional as the K-12 journey is coming to an end for both child and parent.
I admit to being a bit sentimental reading what some parents post. Between the love and praise for their child, there is also a hint of sadness about this chapter of the end of parenthood. That’s why I feel compelled, as a seasoned nester, to share some of the wonderful things about not having kids in high school.
Arriving with a big yay is the sweet, sweet freedom of all high school emails. Your inbox will literally be reduced by at least 25%. This means no more fliers about the next spirit clothing sale and alerts about band concerts, foreign language parties and football club fundraising.
And it’s not just your inbox that’s going to take a break, your parenting psyche will too. Mainly because you won’t read those emails and think to yourself should I get more involved or worse why doesn’t my kid fill out his high school resume with a stint as co-correspondent secretary of the chess club?
Another wonderful thing about the end of the high school experiment is that there are no more joint parent-teacher conferences in the gymnasium. An experience that can best be described as speed dating in a Chuck E. Cheese while having your privacy issues thrown in the ball pit.
That’s because nothing says a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) like standing in line with a group of parents to talk with your child’s teachers while you all try (unsuccessfully) not to listen to the other conferences taking place around you. . Nor is your child’s English teacher helping to use an hourglass last seen on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” to time your “lecture.”
Now, this next hip hip hooray might just be my own personal quirk, but oh how I relish not having to be among the paparazzi parents taking hundreds of homecoming, darling dance, and prom pictures anymore. It’s not that I don’t like taking photos of my kids at special events, it’s just that I prefer the old school. And by that, I mean taking the pictures at home.
Somehow the photos from these events turned into a mass outing where throngs of kids and their parents go to a scenic spot (sometimes 30 minutes away) and literally take hundreds of Pictures. I worked at the Oscars as a reporter and honestly there were fewer ‘photographers’ there.
The absolute best thing, I speak delusional joy, of having a high school graduate is breaking free from the shackles of competitive parenting. You don’t have to listen, worry, or worry anymore when some parents turn every conversation, every volunteer encounter at school, or every paparazzi parenting moment into a bragging sermon on their child.
Sure, once your kid’s grown up and flying, you might have a chance encounter at the grocery store with a hyper-boast, but that’s what the frozen food section is for – hiding from people. So just put your head inside the ice cream freezer and count your blessings. Your child has graduated and now the sky is the limit for you and your child.