Disappointment. That’s a really hard word to swallow.

I am disappointed because yesterday was the high school graduation ceremony and my son did not attend—by his choice. In fact, I only just learned THIS morning that he graduated high school at all!

There are so many factors that contribute to this situation: from the two boy bullies at a local country club who mocked my son’s extra girth at swim practice– he still refuses to go to the pool (badly done, Jack H. and Stevie S., badly done indeed) to his lifelong “bestest” of best friends who turned his back on my son when he needed help the most—something my son never did to him. In my world, when the going gets tough, the tough fight hard…not disappear for more socially acceptable people who can provide upward social mobility instead of helping a friend through the harsh realities of life.

So my son found another “bestest” of best friends, M., who I adored. His friend was funny, witty, a little James Deanish…and ultimately the worst of trouble.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, everything fell apart. My son who was in all Honors classes with almost straight As and an amazing baseball player as well as a poetic football star disappeared. Left in his place was a stranger.

I always wanted a little boy just like Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes. God gave me just what I wanted. He was colicky, grumbling, moody, very active, even more physical, and the love of my life.

But life changed a lot of things and today, I am disappointed. But all of that was stolen away from me with the help of Jack, Stevie, M., and that other boy. They stole his self-esteem and, with it, my Calvin.

Yes, yes. I know. It’s all about choices. Back then, my son did not have a choice. But today, my son does: shape up or ship out. He has chosen to ship out and I’m dealing with that. I can only pray that he reaches bottom and somehow climbs back up. In my dreams, he becomes a raging success…like Joseph…and Jack, M. and that bestest of best friend have to come to him begging for grain.

My son, the one in my dreams, will give them grain and embrace them (well, maybe not Jack…he was never a nice boy).

Last night, two hours before my online book discussion, we ran out to dinner with an out-of-town couple (delightful people from Ohio, btw) and while I waited for everyone to arrive, the waitress commented that it was high school graduation night. My heart sank and I became upset and angry: angry at Jack and his mother with their Facebook graduation pictures, so happy yet completely oblivious to how Jack’s bullying and horrid comments started what M. finished; bitter at the supposedly happy photo of a robed M. with his parents who continue to pretend that everything is just peachy-perfect on their Facebook graduation pictures.

Now that high school is officially over, I’m stuck dealing with the “what now?”

Last summer, I arranged for my Calvin to attend my alma mater, Drew University, a very reputable liberal arts school that is not easy to get accepted. Someone else pulled the plug on that one. Now, he’s maybe going to a community college which, while a good education, lacks the prestige that parents fling around about their next-best-college-to-Harvard that their child is going to. In fact, whenever I mention that my son is accepted at the community college (a place I once taught, btw), I see their expression change as they nod their head and say, “There’s nothing wrong with that.” Really? Then why do they say that?

So those boys might have graduated and are now moving onto new phases of their lives, but their sons helped steal the future that I wanted for my son.

As a Christian, I should forgive then seven times seventy, right? As a human, I cannot.

I’ll never have that graduation photo standing next to my Calvin. I’ll never feel the tears of joy seeing him in that maroon robe walking to get his diploma. I’ll never have those four years back. They are gone…lost…


Ironic. So apparently is he.

First time visiting me? Subscribe for email updates or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

14 thoughts on “Lost

  1. Sarah, I am so sorry to read about your disappointment with Alex’ friends, and Alex himself . I hope he will go to college next year. Hopefully, by then he will be more squared away , have more control over his actions and be ready to apply himself in school.
    You are such an inspiration to so very many of us, despite all the hardships you had before & since your cancer.I think where Alex is concerned you are not allowing yourself to become An Empty Cup! We nurture our children ,particularly while they are young, then have to set them free. Where he is concerned, unfortunately it’s sink or swim.I think you & Marc ae right.
    Let us start a prayer circle for you. Much love & many hugs, Sweet Sarah.

  2. Sarah…. This was powerful, raw and real. I hate to think of your son going through that. As a victim of bullying in and out of school myself…my heart breaks for him and the unseen scars that it leaves behind. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. That your “Calvin” will soon be found.

  3. Guess I messed up. Sarah … This was raw and real and my heartbreaks that you are going through this. Being bullied we have scars no one sees. I will be praying for your “Calvin” that he gets found soon. God has this. You are never alone in the dark places Jesus is there. I read that recently and it helped me a lot.

  4. JMJ

    Dear sweet Sarah,
    I’m so sorry you are going through such a difficult time. Stay close to Our Blessed Lord and He will carry you and your beloved “Calvin” through. Our family has gone through so much over the last 9 years (I will not go into it all here but you can pm me and I will explain) including, but not stopping at, the tragic death of our daughter in 2014. Your boy is ALIVE!!! Keep praying for him and trusting God.

  5. Sarah, I am so sorry you are going through this. My children are all young adults now, but I have been in similar situations when they were that age. The hurt is deep and doesn’t go away for quite sometime. God sees your pain and knows your heart. Will be praying for you and your son. Love and hugs! ?

  6. I never walked down that aisle to receive my diploma. I got married had 2 beautiful daughters ( who are now 39 & 41)
    I became a Girl Scout leader, trainer, Cookie Manager, and a band mom for 7 years. I got a library job which was my dream job I learned new skills and finally had a chance to Manage the library for almost a year. I remained in library work for 27 years until 2014 when I had to leave due to disability, I feel blessed to be married for almost 43 years.

    There were lots of things I might do differently if I had the chance but I had a very full life without that diploma. I got a job because I volunteered first and they knew from my actions that I would be a devoted employee. I think I was a decent mom but far from perfect.. I could be a better wife. I think I am a good friend.

    What did I feel I missed? The diploma and ceremony. Someone to say”I am proud of you” The Senior Prom. Going to college.

    Being a mom is a full time job. I was there for my children and I am still here when they need me. I grew up fast but I wasn’t a failure. Your son will find his way. Be open to communication without compromising your beliefs.

  7. Your son and you, all your family, will be in my prayers. My son is only 12 but I do worry about what challenges the teen years might hold for us.

  8. My son went through a rough spell for a few years. In his case it was a girl who really messed with his head. He became a person I didn’t know but after many heart aches and much prayer he got right with God and is now happily married . He’s back to the young man we knew before…there is hope ..Will be praying

  9. Sarah so sorry for what you are going through. I was always told to treat people the way you want to be treated. That is what I tell my kids and grandkids. I have a daughter who had this friend that told her what she needed to hear. At the time of said friend my daughter didn’t think to highly of her self. From this so called friend we ended up with a beautiful granddaughter. My granddaughter is nine years old and has not seen her real dad since she was two and a half. I told some one once that I treat my family like friends and my friends like family. I also tell people I may not be able to help but I canalways listen and I have two shoulders if they are needed to cry on. Is always here to listen. I have five sisters but can always use another one. Sending you love and hugs your way.

  10. My adopted son was in jail for his graduation. We can only lead them and then god takes over. I now have two beautiful grandchildren. Its hard to let go and let god but we must. Stay strong. Claire

  11. Dear Sarah, I share a similar loss and disappointment and it aches into the core of my being. As parents we want so much for our children, we hurt when they hurt, and we rejoice and cheer when they are at the top of their happiness.
    My daughter did manage to graduate from HS ( nothing short of a miracle!) That was 5 years ago. She continues to make bad choices, bouncing along “her bottom” alienating and disappointing the people who love and support her the most.
    I have had to let go and hand it completely over to God…for his love for her is even greater than mine and he is in control not me. I feel your pain, and I will keep you and your son in my prayers. Sending peace and love your way…

  12. Sarah, I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I of my 3 did not graduate at school, got in trouble and yes- my wotst nightmare of jail for him happened. He did get his diploma while there and a fee college credits. He is now 42, married and is a goid dad. Don’t give up on him, God won’t.
    God has a plan, we will keep praying.
    Love you?❤️

  13. Sarah, in 1974, even though I was at the top of my class academically, I was not permitted to attend my high school graduation because I was pregnant. I had my daughter, went on to work my way through both 2 years of community college (an excellent education, btw, and the best bang for your buck) and then 2 years of a local university. In the process, I met my now husband of 39 years, who married me, adopted my daughter, and gave me 2 other beautiful children. I also became a highly respected special education teacher in the same elementary school that I had attended. I worked there for 35 years and recently retired. Even though missing that graduation hurt my heart (and broke my parents’) at the time, it was soon forgotten and became unimportant. I know though, also through experience, how easily our hearts can be broken by our children, their hurts and their own foolish choices, but that is a story, or stories, for another time. I highly recommend the book “Praying for Your Adult Children,” by Stormie O’Martin. Praying for your son and leaving him in God’s hands is the best thing you can do for him. Oh yes, and be there when he needs tou, because he will. I’ll be praying for your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.