Moms Graduation Speech

As I ponder the idea of no longer being a participant in the public school system, the thought that I am rid of fund raisers, done with dirty basketball jerseys, shed of tracking a textbook assigned ten months ago and never used, and altogether destitute of paperwork to be filled out in triplicate with a blue ink pen…a single tear of pure joy glistens in my eye. My left eye. The one that twitches.

Let freedom ring.

I’d like to thank everyone who made this moment possible.

I could not have worn such a deep trench in the elementary school doorway, had not Hubby insisted that homeschooling was “not an option”. Thank you, Hubby, for challenging me to find a way to homeschool our kids anyway by bringing home sixteen years of creative projects for all 800 of the students I adopted there.

Thank you, Middle School Principal, for welcoming five siblings in a row, children who brought their bicycles with them instead of their mother, children who learned the value of a dollar by hustling duct tape wallets, the value of deodorant after gym class, and the value of functional stall doors in a bathroom. We learned there’s no place like home after all.

Shout out to my firstborn for teaching me that we all learn in our own ways during high school. Some of us learn while sitting in the back row, staring out a window, and doodling on the homework. We learn that teachers are furious when they call you out in front of the class and you actually know the answers.

Second born, thank you for becoming fluent in Spanish so that I don’t need to be. It’s as entertaining as the German, Russian, and whale your siblings pretend to speak. You taught me that there’s no such thing as too many boxes full of awards.

Middle child, my never-in-a-hurry-why-do-you-want-to-rush-stuff one, thank you for waiting until two weeks to graduating to decide that you actually did want to attend college. I think your degree in “Communication” is as authentic as the panic attack I had.

I appreciate the effort it took, oh fourth one, to move to a new high school, forsaking the legacy of our family reputation to create a name for yourself. You played varsity sports as a freshman, losing every single game for a year, and ended your senior year with mono. You taught me gumption. One of us deserves a gold sticker.

And now, the last man standing, he who had to grow a sense of humor at birth, the one who had no idea his vision was bad until twelve tender years of age, the man who can perform quantum physics yet struggles with a pencil and long division, is poised on the platform, prepared to join his siblings in the world of adults, so long as there’s no laundry involved.

Thank you for doing your homework, love. Even if I think it’s cheating to do “research” from your couch instead of fighting classmates over the last three reference books in an actual library a day before the term paper is due. Sorry about that dopamine addiction. We all thought educating through an iPad was a good idea four years ago.

I’m so happy. I’m so blessed. I’m so tired.

I hope I can make it through the ceremony.

In conclusion, an Honorary Mention goes out to my fellow moms. Yes, that award given to our kids at school assemblies, recognizing that they have been showing up and breathing in and out all day. The one that reminds us that we are all winners.

To the girlfriends who stood by me during Common Core Math and the common cold; those who heard my battle cries and administered hot tea and hugs. Thank you for reminding me that the school system with its trappings and traps, is temporary after all. Our educations are priceless. And our possibilities are endless.

Let’s do this.

Comment (12)

  • School Jitters - JolieTunnell.com| August 18, 2019

    […] you’re bringing up Common Core? I graduated as I recall. But I told you so. Well. I told America so. Or something like that, because if we would just stop […]

  • Julie E.| May 29, 2019

    Congrats Jolie! My triplet girls are all in universities, one hopefully graduating the end of next year. Thank you so much for all you did for the schools, especially the art & music docent program. It is because of you that whenever I hear the “I am a pizza…” it brings back very fond memories of the 1st graders I tried to teach to sing so many years ago 🙂

  • carol| May 27, 2019

    congratulations Jolie and congratulations all five kids/adults.

  • Pattie Wolfe| May 20, 2019

    I want a gold star! I am graduating number 5 this year! Thankfully getting her out before our oldest grandchild is in Jr high! So true how each one is so different but bring so much joy! Not sure I can fully take credit for raising this last one due to the fact that her nearest sibling in age was 10 years older and they all helped raise her! Maybe we should all get a gold star for her.

    • Jolie Tunnell| May 21, 2019

      Gold stars for everybody!!! If you helped a kid get through the system and can still stand upright, you are definitely winners!

  • Barbara Joan Abel| May 19, 2019

    Congratulations of making it through for all five of your children. I’m sure everyone appreciated all the help you gave. How are you going to fill all the extra hours you have this next year? Mothers like you are becoming fewer. Teachers are having a difficult time finding volunteers like you.

  • Jenni| May 19, 2019

    I feel you Jolie! Having 5 kids is one thing, but putting them through school is something else entirely! It’s not something I thought much about before becoming a mom, but it is no small undertaking! My twins just finished their second year of college, and believe me, I don’t miss reading all those packets, signing all those papers and living in fear that I forgot to pay for something. “Sorry (insert name here)! I forgot to (buy you a yearbook/ turn in your field trip permission slip/get you on the waiting list for the big 8th grade trip). Wait a minute, didn’t I do that? I could swear I did!” Those were not my finest moments, but we all survived. Congrats on such a huge accomplishment!

  • Kiki| May 19, 2019

    Congratulations Jolie! Proud to be a former teacher of all 5 of your very unique children. Each one came with their gifts (and challenges.) But they were all awesome and I feel so blessed that I had your amazing family in my life. Thank you for 5 years of helping and tolerating my crazy ideas,including those projects😂. It’s parents like you and families like yours who remind me why I chose this profession. ❤️❤️ Sending extra hugs to #5-tell him he gets 100 points for this one! (I don’t know if he remembers the game we used to play after school every day when I was on crossing duty.) Your family will always be in my heart and in my thoughts and prayers. 💕

  • Dean Stewart| May 19, 2019

    Well done, Jolie. Thanks for sharing.

  • Bon| May 19, 2019

    Congrats, Jolie! You can now exhale. Welcome to the new world, where you can ditch the school calendar and live by your own! Where news stories about education politics that once stole your peace of mind and turned you into an activist/helicopter/concerned parent can now be sidelined (you did your part!) for that Kayak email and planning your next big adventure 🙂 BE FREE and enjoy the new perspective, job well done!

  • Mark Ishman| May 19, 2019

    You go mom!
    Brought a smile to me thinking back on our TWO polar opposites in school, can’t imagine doing it five times!
    I hope someone gave you that gold star!

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