The Graduate

A friend of mine has a 5th grader who is getting ready to graduate next month from elementary school and posted on facebook a question to friends….

What do I get her?

I love Karen’s daughter because she is so like me, covering all her bases and planting the seed early enough by telling her mom recently…”I can’t wait to find out what I’m going to get for graduation!” In other words, start shopping mom because it’s gift giving time!

Seriously – we could be related.

Karen’s dilemma is that some of her daughter’s friends are getting iPads and some are getting flowers (and probably everything in between). So what does she do?

I feel her pain. I have a daughter “graduating” from kindergarten this year. I’m serious – they took cap and gown pictures today at school. Which is weird because she JUST “graduated” from pre-school last year (yup, cap and gown pictures then too). Now I’m all for a celebration. And if you know me…I’m BIG into presents. But what’s too much? When do we celebrate so much that the celebration begins to lose the meaning and we begin handing over expensive gifts because we’ve simply ended a school year?

When I was young I got a $40 suitcase and a set of bath towels for HIGH SCHOOL graduation. Of course, times were simpler then. And it was before the invention of personal computers and cell phones…so things were cheaper then, too.

But unlike kindergarten graduation (I’m sorry Annie Bananie – but no big gift this year!) I do think leaving elementary school is a big deal, a milestone that deserves to be recognized. I do remember one of the most special things I got when I was young was a piece of jewelry from my mom. It wasn’t too expensive, just something meaningful. She gave me a gold initial ring once and on another occasion, gave me a gold ring with my birthstone. I love the rings at James Avery and I think those dangle rings that were popular when I was in high school are back in style. What about one with a class of ’12 charm?

But the most significant thing that’s about to happen to my friend, (I’m sorry but it’s going to get emotional here), is that she’s going to start to see her daughter less once she gets into middle school. Friends, more classes, after-school activities….life’s going to change for them for sure (I’m getting misty eyed just typing this because I have a son who will be in fifth grade next year.)

A great present for her would be something they could do together during the summer that is special. What is that for them? I don’t know. A fancy dinner and going to see a play? A day of pampering at the spa? A week of camping in the mountains? Maybe it’s even simpler than that. Maybe it’s a once a week date to go to the bookstore together or a nightly walk.

But I’ve heard it a million times from parents who have kids older then mine – once middle school starts, high school is just around the corner – and then in a blink of an eye – BA-BAM….college. Life start to move REAL fast. So my advice, Karen…slow it down for awhile this summer. What ever gift you decide to give her in May, don’t forget to give EACH OTHER the gift of your time.






  1. 1

    BEAUTIFUL post! I agree with your gift ideas – a family trip would be awesome, but James Avery is ALWAYS good (and welcome on any day someone wants to give it to me)!!

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