Cole’s High School Graduation: A Milestone for Us All!

Well, it’s finally happened. Cole, who made us parents, has graduated high school! I know some of you have been here since he was five! Thank you for caring about him and being part of our family all the way through his graduation. We are all so proud of “Chef” Cole!

Warning: Big Feels

I know I’m not alone; a lot of parents are hit with a rush of emotions when their child graduates. Unlike a lot of what I’ve heard or read, mine manifested differently. I wasn’t mourning my child into an adult – quite the opposite. I’m so proud of Cole and love having been a part of him becoming a man. He cares deeply, has a wonderful sardonic sense of humor, can hold good conversation, and is a fantastic cook. Cole is so helpful around the home, often cooking dinner for the family or taking out the trash without my having to ask. He is an independent thinker and respectful to all – even animals.  Best of all, I can trust him. He is conscientious and careful about all the big things in life.

If he didn’t grow up, I couldn’t know the wonderful man he is. Instead, I was hit with something I wasn’t expecting: my own dilemma. For most care takers, and I imagine especially mothers, our identity changes with motherhood. For me, this was very much the case. So much of who I am, what I value, how I spend my time – it’s all wrapped up in being a mom. When faced with graduation, I faced a question I wasn’t expecting, “Who am I, if not a mother?” Of course I have varied interests, friends, and hobbies outside being a mother. But, for those looking to prepare yourself mentally before the big day… you can’t.

My suggestion? Roll with it. Shed the tears. Feel the feelings. Clean out all the closets as anxiety envelops you. And all along the way remind yourself that aging is a privilege. How lucky we are to be able to evolve, to see our children grow, and to be able to decide what we want next in life.

To the Kids Who Didn’t…

Cole’s graduation student speaker gave her speech on how difficult their high school graduating class had it. She mentioned depression and lack of connection in her speech. I feel for these kids and cannot imagine what the pandemic was like for them. Or how it will effect them into adulthood. So, let’s remember:

A big shout out to all the kids who didn’t win an award, make honor roll, and barely made it through the school year. A big hug to the moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers, and foster parents that stuck by them as they maneuvered the school year.

To the kids that didn’t get invited to the prom, didn’t get a scholarship to college, and perhaps have to go straight to work out of high school…you are still worthy of a pat on the back and a Facebook post with people talking about how amazing you are.

Some kids have to work twice as hard as other students just to get a “C”. Their achievements deserve recognition. Don’t forget those kids.

Kindness, creativity, and generosity…those attributes sadly don’t get the accolades they deserve.


Okay…really…did this really happen? Cole graduated high school! We were so grateful to have so much there family there to celebrate our eldest reaching this milestone!

Graduation Dinner

As many of you know, Cole is considering becoming a chef! We took him to one of our favorite upscale (but not pretentious) restaurants, L’Auberge Chez François

From split-pea soup, fois gras, beef cheeks, and microgreen salad, to seafood, lamb, a special graduation pavlova and the most amazing soufflé, it was such a special way to celebrate this milestone!

See everything we ate in our local NoVA Eats highlight here.

Graduation Party

We spent most of the week before graduation, preparing our home for Cole’s graduation party!

A true foodie, Cole opted for a bagel bar! Bobby’s Bagel Cafe hit it out of the part with “Congrats Grad” alpha bagels and cheese cutouts charcuterie board!

Finn was our bartender and served mock- and cocktails using fresh mint from our garden! Specials on the menu: Summer Peach Smash, Garden Fresh Mojito, and Bubble Tea!

I didn’t imagine that the love one can have for their children can turn into a relationship of mutual respect, that you can LIKE one another and enjoy the time you spend together. As a young mother, I dreaded having teens – so stinky, loud, and rude! But now I realize how magical  watching an individual come into their full self is. It’s been life-changing, to say the least. I am so grateful every day with Cole. It’s true what they say, the days are long and the years are short.

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