Graduation Blues

3 Jun

Letterbalm MortarboardDear LetterBalm: My mom and dad had a bad divorce three years ago. I go back and forth to their houses because they share joint custody. Even though they can’t speak to each other without yelling, they are good parents to me. They’ve been involved in my college search and are really on me about school activities and schoolwork. My high school graduation is in two weeks, and they say they won’t come if the other person is there. My grandmother and my cousin said they’d come, but I really want my parents there. How can I convince them?

–Caught in the Middle

You sound like a person who, in some ways, has had to be the adult in your family. Your high school graduation is a life milestone, and your parents should put aside their differences and be there for you, especially since both of them have been so involved in your education. It’s good of your relatives to offer to witness your big day. But if it isn’t possible for your grandmother to talk with your folks, you’ll have to step in. Ms. L.B. says you can talk with them individually, but it might be more convincing to write each of them a letter, each one slightly different, and give it to them individually. Something along these lines:

Dear [Mom/Dad],

You’ve been such a good parent, helping me with my college search and helping me get into Penn. It’s only right that you and [Dad/Mom] should be at my high school graduation. It won’t be the same having Grandma and Cecily there. Having both of you there will mean the most to me, and I’d rather have no one else in the audience cheering me on. Please consider sharing the celebration with me. Can you set aside your differences just for the day and be nice to each other for my sake?

Love,

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