RMT’s – Random Mother Tears

mother-and-graduate-2-2Have you ever noticed that mothers have the innate ability to be both sentimental and practical at the same time?  This ability is evident in all stages of raising children, yet I find it especially true when you have a child graduating from school. The many details of ordering announcements, gowns and rings, of scheduling pictures, choosing outfits, and planning multiple celebrations can strain even the most well organized woman. The addition of these tasks to an already full schedule can tip a family into overload during the ‘graduation season.’ Seniors are running high on excitement as they collectively anticipate the end of their schooling. Admittedly, the events and milestones of the senior year are worthy of such unbridled joy, and yet I’ve noticed that something interesting happens to parents as their children advance through this phase of life.

Tears surface at the most unexpected times. Not sobbing or weeping tears; but a silent welling of emotion that floods the eyes momentarily and constricts the throat, thus making it difficult to speak. I call them ‘RMTs’; random mother tears. One mother had them at the mall when she was shopping with her graduating senior and her younger brother.  Her kids were getting along and fooling around, laughing and teasing one another and she randomly became overwhelmed with emotion. Instead of hurrying them along as she would normally do, she stood and watched them for awhile. Observing them with a heart overflowing with sentiment, she blinked away her tears and turned aside to compose herself. When she described it to me later she said, “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m so emotional lately. It’s like I’m pregnant again, but I’m not!” I reassured her that the same thing had happened to me when each of my sons had graduated.

Emotions run high at this time of year and bittersweet moments can surface unexpectedly. We proudly celebrate our graduate’s accomplishments and the hard work that brought them to this point while also seeing them in our mind’s eye as a young child who once again is bringing home artwork to decorate the refrigerator. Time plays tricks on our minds and a duality lingers as we see our emerging young adult counterbalanced by images of him or her as a young child; drawing, playing, singing, and doing homework or science projects. The elementary, middle, and high school years blend together in a collage of memories that tug on our hearts. Years of schooling that used to feel endless are coming to an end whether we are ready or not. The mix of emotions is understandable and yet overwhelming at times.

So, if your senior wonders why you are misty-eyed and giving her a quivering smile at times, just say that you are having RMTs. Tell her not to worry. I can reassure you that the RMTs will pass.

You are part of a very special group of women who have successfully raised a graduating senior. You can be both proud and trembling at the same time. That’s just what we moms do.

P.S. Father’s get them too. Pass this along to the men in your life who experience RFTs.