Daughter graduates from college

Being the mother of a college graduate

betty ming liu Inspiration, Money 12 Comments

Here’s my big news: I’ve become the proud mother of a college graduate! And I’m also sort of speechless. Wow. What do I do now?

During these past four years. I watched Gabi explore her passions, purpose and power. It was hard for me to let her make her own choices (but I learned). She graduated with honors, too — all this, while working multiple part-time jobs AND getting in her fair share of partying.

Most importantly, my daughter found her people.

When Gabi was a sophomore, we co-blogged a popular post about how to choose a college. In it, we described why high schoolers need to find their people. I’m so glad she accomplished her mission.

Daughter graduates from college

A happy ceremony

My daughter’s Sunday outdoor commencement ceremony showed us exactly what her community looks like…

The Class of 2017, resplendent in their red caps and gowns, came down to us from a grassy hill. The African drummers played loud enough to reach every corner of the the sprawling, green lawn.

We heard speeches about scholarship, passionate learning and immigrant rights. The poet Claudia B. Rankine gave a commencement address about social justice and the value in “failing” — failing to meet standard definitions of success for the greater prize of changing the world. Go, Wesleyan!

Of course, I got weepy. But not for long as we headed for a post-ceremony reception. Everyone crowded around to meet, greet, talk and hug. My daughter’s friends and their families were busy connecting with our clan. Our contingent consisted of her dad and his family, my sister and niece and my longtime friend, who is Gabi’s godmother. It was fun.

Feeling grateful 

Before I go, I want to thank you all for sticking by me through the years. You’ve been here as I wrestled with parenting, being a daughter and finding community.

Your patience and support made me a better woman and mom. Thank you. Thanks for being part of my tribe! xo

Comments 12

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  1. Congratulations! You did it together. Now, after a few months of time off and time together, go get that job and thrive! You have earned the right to relax for now but afterwards get right back on that horse and ride off into the sunset towards your destiny! Oh, to be young again! Good luck on setting out for both of your futures!

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  2. There are few moments in life of such unalloyed happiness as a college graduation – when you see that the person you love, in spite of obstacles big and small, has made it – has achieved that invaluable piece of parchment that says “I can do it. I have an education. I’m smart and I’m wonderful.” Of course, you knew that all along but now there is documentary evidence to show the whole world. You also know it wasn’t easy. It isn’t supposed to be – and that knowledge of exactly what the struggle involved makes it all the more precious. I have now sat through six of these graduations. The boys all looked so grand in their robes – especially Eric in his doctoral regalia – and the ceremonies were so majestic – especially University of Pennsylvania, when Noel got his MA. Wow. Grand doesn’t begin to describe how they do things in the Ivy League. But every one of them – whether it was Eric getting a doctorate from Rutgers or Steven graduating from a small community college, made me so proud and so grateful for having been given the chance to be of some help along the way. It is truly remarkable how the accomplishments of the young people whose lives we are a part of become so much more important to us than anything we have done by ourselves. My deepest congratulations to you and Gabi.

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      Toby, I love the scenes you’re gifting us with. So many graduations! Whatever kind of school they’re coming out of, it’s all good — as long as they found support, love and the thrill of learning. It’s all about finding their people. And yes, I’m so, so happy for Gabs. Thanks for sharing! xo

  3. Congratulations! No more tuition bills! My son is 1 year out from his graduation, and I still remember my elation at having helped reach this milestone. Needless to say, the last year has been even more exciting. Good luck to you both.

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      Thank you, Joel — and congrats to you, too! I can’t believe how different it feels to be done with college. But as you point out, a new adventure begins. Moving on without the structure of college is a little scary but it’s also definitely exciting. :)

  4. Congratulations, Gabi
    Your mother loves you to no end. Enough to want to share you with the world and just as much by not sharing too much of you and/or anything you don’t want shared.

    I remember years ago reading a post on your mother’s blog about a photography class you took together. A camera blocked your face (if I remember correctly) in a private but artful way. There was also a picture I remember that only featured your hands.

    You were “the Princess.”

    Then came posts about modeling in Seventeen, pictures of your 16th birthday trip to Paris, and later on, the post you co-blogged with Betty.

    It’s been nice getting to know a little about you over the years, and I appreciate the sense of mystery. (Not that you’re trying to be mysterious, you’re just being you) I don’t want to know that much about your life and I don’t need to. I appreciate a snippet here and there, and I’m fine (I think?) if I never read any more.

    You’ve impressed me and taught me some things, along with your mother. She’s always teaching me something, even when she doesn’t know it. Your life together has taught me about growth and adaptation and doing things your own way. Yes, even as a teen, you taught me that. I have a wonderful relationship with my son. I too, love him to know end and hope that even as he and I both change, that our communication remains constant and honest.

    Congratulations, Gabi. On graduation, and above all, on finding your people.

    Betty, congratulations to you, as well. You’re here. You made it. You did that thing! Parenting…rocked it
    More to come…
    Thank you for generously and carefully sharing Gabi with us.

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      Skye, thank you for this comment. You’re such a careful reader! And you’re so aware that I try to limit what I share about Gabi. Even though she says she doesn’t really care, I believe she has a right to privacy. Thank you for following her journey, my journey, our journey. It’s great to have your support. xo

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