Another one has come and gone. Graduation of child 4 from high school took place last weekend. It was a full, emotional time and the chance to be filled with nostalgia, as my thirteen-year-old son was sure to articulate at every opportunity.
There were many finals.
Final concerts, final performances, final gatherings, final awards ceremonies.
There was also a Mama Final.
This is what I call the gathering and assembling of a memory board to display at the graduation party. I fantasize that some more organized mamas have it all together and have been working on the project gradually over the years, having only to add finishing touches here and there for the final display.
Remember those science fair projects and research reports that started with the best of intentions and ended with holding a blow dryer over a paper-mache dinosaur to get it to dry faster the night before it was due? Is it just me?
My process has been trial and error, fueled by pragmatic inspiration. Sadly, my firstborn was not the recipient of a properly-executed final exam. Her display took over most of the dining room, as school pictures of her were hung, illustrating her various awkward stages of growing up. I am grateful that she graded me on a curve for that.
I didn’t discover my method and groove until child number two graduated from high school. Because he was a pianist and giving a senior piano recital, I planned out a memory board to be displayed at the reception that followed.
Not wanting to waste my efforts, the thought struck that if I used a display board and attached decorated scrapbook pages to it, I could later remove the pages and insert them into an album. Armed with this inspiration, I chose to use green and gold, his chosen college’s colors as the backdrop colors and set to work planning out pages.
I did the same for the next graduate, a girl who planned to take a gap year. Her album was recently pulled out to remember and reminisce.
Enter the month of May. Busy and full, I felt grateful that my last day of work left me with two full weeks before everyone else was out of school. I began to focus on the task at hand.
Here is how it played out.
- I pulled out the display board stored in my closet from the last graduate.
- I collected the boxes of memories that I had saved over the years and began sorting, patchwork quilt style on my bed.
- I began committing by cutting and gluing pictures to the scrapbook paper as page themes emerged.
- I set aside my perfectionistic tendencies and not good enough voices in my head and just did it. I made something.
- The morning of the graduation brunch, it was fun to have this for people to enjoy.
- Afterwards, I organized the pages into a photo album, scrapbook-style.
There you have the process for a successful mama final exam. If this mother of eight can do it, you can, too! One of the biggest tips I have is to designate a bin for each child to collect their memories. I plan to write more on this topic soon, but that is a good place to start.