ConGRADulations To My Firstborn

The tassel was worth the hassle!

The moment you were born, the nurses laid you in my awkward arms and we were formally introduced. “Hello Brennan,” I whispered softly. “I hope I don’t forget to feed you.” An image of my goldfish floating upside down briefly swam to mind. We gazed at each other warily, you with your dark shark eyes, me like a deer in headlights.

You peed on me when I opened your diaper, wouldn’t latch on to my swollen breasts, and glared impatiently at our botched attempts to buckle your car seat. I’d never even changed a diaper. Why would they allow me to take a baby home without supervision? I was gently reminded I was almost 35. Perhaps it was time to grow up.

This week you graduate high school. I wait with butterflies for your turn to walk across the stage. You stride with confidence in your cap and gown, and my heart swells two sizes. In the fall, you’ll be moving across the country for university. Our family dynamic, neatly set for four people, will be altered. My emotions are all over the map.

Have I done enough? You don’t seem prepared for life on the outside. Last summer when you went to Africa, you forgot to wash your clothes…for 40 days. Have I done too much? Living in a top-notch bed and breakfast, complete with chambermaid and laundry service, has made you soft. I’m the enabler.


I hope the time spent on your phone playing pointless games, or binge-watching eight seasons of Family Guy won’t give you permanent brain damage. I profoundly hope you boomerang back to us when your education is complete. We want to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

This gene is automatically ingrained in new mothers. Did you notice how much time I spent on the computer, researching how to be a good mother? You probably didn’t, because I completely ignored you while I looked.


You are thoughtful, kind, funny, and a deep thinker. You’re not too cool for cuddling and tuck-ins. We’ve had the time of our lives living vicariously through your youth. You will make the world a better place.

Last week as the two of us were watching Toy Story 3, you excitedly announced that both you and Andy were leaving for college. I burst into tears. You’re going to make poor choices, face heartbreak, and possible alcohol poisoning. I hope school doesn’t get in the way…


You’ve gone MIA, spending most of your time with friends, and staying out too late. But I’m onto you. You’re trying to make us miserable, so we can’t wait for you to go. It’s working! This is known as soiling the nest. The increased independence makes it easier for you to leave home, and for us to set you free.

Letting go
Eighteen years ago, I nested. I spent months preparing the nursery, covering electrical outlets, and filling the diaper bag. Now I find myself nesting again, only this time you’re flying the coop. I grew you, and you will always be mine. But for now, the world is your oyster. Get out there and find your pearl.


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  1. Bonnie

    Oh my! I sitting here with tears steaming down my cheeks. I know exactly how you are feeling! Congratulations Brennan! All the best to you.

  2. Margot

    Such a lovely tribute!

  3. Joanne Cave

    Awww… Val. What an exciting time for Brennan! He’s going to have the time of his life!

  4. Sandra

    So nice Val…..yah, I’m in tears too, because I’m two years behind you and I know it’s coming quick!!!! He’s so handsome and you must be so proud. 🙂

  5. Debi Pluto

    Yes it is exciting Val as our boys do move onto the next phase of their lives. How exciting to be moving across the country to earn his right of passage. I know the nest will be starting to empty but that makes it more special when they do come home. A wonderful tribute to Brennan and all our hockey boys that move on this year, I keep shaking my head wondering where the time has all gone.

  6. laurie fowke

    Made me laugh and have tears for you Val. Congratulations to your handsome son and best of luck to him in all his new adventures!!

  7. Sheldon Zacharias

    Very cool!!!

  8. Cheryl Settle

    Val, I am not sure if it is the fact that I, too, have a young man living at home still – or the hot peppers I am snacking on- but I am very sniffly!

    This was a beautiful tribute to Brennan. And not doubt, you and Ken will have done what is needed, certainly until Brennan returns to your B and B!


  9. Rachel

    Val. What a lovely tribute! You have so much to be proud of.

  10. Tammi Whiteway

    Well done Val!!!! Congratulations!!!! XOXO

  11. Dawn

    Ok you made me cry. That was very well said Valerie. He will come back cause he likes being with his mom and dad. You are great parents. 🙂 Well I love u, so, I’m sure he loves u more. Congratulations Brennan! Have a wonderful and exciting experience in Nova Scotia. 🙂

  12. Shelley

    I’m at once enchanted and devastated by this. Lovely. Best wishes to you both.

    • Sangria Sisters

      Shelley, when my kids were little, just like yours are now, time seemed to crawl by. And then all of sudden, KAPOW, off they go. Strangely enough, I haven’t aged at all…

  13. Catherine

    Thanks, Val. Nothin’ like starting the day off with a good cry! 😉 Congrats to Brennan and remember you don’t need to know about everything that happens at university…it’s much easier that way. Good luck to Nolan as he will now have your undivided attention! 😉

    • Sangria Sisters

      My boys are tight lipped Catherine. I don’t know much about high school, so university will be a breeze. Nolan can’t wait now, but it will be a different story after Brennan leaves. They are tight!

  14. Sangria Sisters

    Thanks for the lovely comments ladies! I know this hits close to home!

  15. Jodi

    beautiful. Tears and laughs. Congrats

  16. Verna

    Val, that was beautiful! I’m from NS. What school is he going to? I have a joint degree from Dal and MSVU. I worked and did research at SMU, and I did my BEd at St. F.X! 🙂 I really enjoyed Dal/MSVU, but my heart belongs to X! 🙂

    • Sangria Sisters

      Thanks Verna. Brennan’s heart will too! He was accepted to St. FX. We love the small town vibe, class sizes, and have heard rave reviews from past alumni. Thanks for verifying what we suspected!

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