Marking Milestones

It‘s a week for marking educational milestones at the Adams’ house.

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Our youngest son graduates from college this week, and that marks the end of “school” for our children. Anita and I have four children, who were born four years apart. From the beginning of kindergarten for our oldest son to graduation from college for our youngest, we have been in “school” for 29 years.

That’s a lot of school!

By the numbers:

Elementary and Secondary Schools

  • 25 years of public schools
  • 11 different schools in 3 states
  • Shortest – ½ year at kindergarten in KY
  • Longest – 16 years (all 4 kids) at North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville

University and Graduate School

  • 16 years of college
  • 5 different universities in one state
  • 1 graduate school
  • Shortest – 1 semester at UNCC
  • Longest – 11 years (2 kids) at Campbell University, including 3 years of graduate school

When we started our parenting journey in 1981, we didn’t set out to achieve these milestones. We didn’t know what was in store for us. Milestones are reached with small, consistent achievements that, when added up over a 29-year span, equal something big.

Our oldest son, now 34 and a father of 2 himself, started kindergarten in the fall of 1986. That was the first milestone in a long line. Parents and child alike look forward to those first days of school.

Now fast-forward to May 23, 2015. Our youngest son, now 22, will be graduating from college. In between were another son (now 30 and married with a 2 daughters) and a daughter (now 26 and married), who graduated from divinity school last year. Add it all together and you have consistent work along the way and before you know it – a milestone.

Milestones are accomplished over time from achievement after achievement. Showing up every day for class. Homework papers turned in. Quizzes and tests to study for. Projects, big and small, completed on time (most of the time).

If you’re going to reach a milestone, think one day at a time, not 29 years of days.

I’m proud of all my kids. They finished school; now their education really begins.

The Second Half of Marriage

Milestones along the journey usually indicated distance traveled. In a figurative sense, milestones indicate an event along life’s journey. As I noted here, this week marks a big milestone in our house: our youngest son graduates from high school.

Following his graduation this weekend, he will return to the boy’s camp where he is a summer counselor (he’s already been there a week, training). When camp is over in August, it will be just a few short weeks and then he will be in college.

And the nest will be empty.

For the first time in over 30 years, it will just be Anita and I. No kids. No kids’ friends. No soccer games. No church groups. No school assignments. No…you name it.

That’s kind of daunting.

We actually have had a couple of summers to practice the empty nest thing, as our son has been a counselor each of the previous two summers. So, for a period of 10 weeks or so, we’ve been empty nesters. But not really; we knew at the end of summer he would be back again. This time, however, it will be real.

Enter the second half of marriage.

A few years ago, I wrote about it here and here. One Valentine’s Days, I talked about it here.

All of a sudden, the here is now.

  • Your teenagers have gone to college
  • Your parents are aging
  • You’ve been invited to your twenty-fifth (or thirty-fifth) high school reunion
  • Your exercise more (?) but burn fewer calories
  • You have received an invitation to join AARP
  • By the time you get your spouse’s attention, you’ve forgotten what you were going to say

If you identify with these symptoms, you are in or are approaching the second half of marriage.

Why not make the rest of your marriage the best?