Con’GRAD’ulations To My Firstborn

Original Post May 2015

Moments after we finally met, I whispered “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.

Ever had a job with no training, and lives were at stake? He wouldn’t latch, peed on me daily, and glared at our botched attempts to buckle the car seat. I’d never even changed a diaper. Anxiety was at an all time high.

But in the blink of an eye, high school was ✅. You cross the stage in your cap and gown, and my heart swells two sizes. We applaud your decision to attend university across country. Should we be offended you can’t wait to run?

Our family dynamic, neatly set for four people, will be forever altered.


Have I done enough? You don’t seem prepared for life on the outside. Someone please pass me a parenting handbook, I need to smack my kid.

Have I done too much? Living in a high-end bed and breakfast, complete with chambermaid and laundry service, has made you soft. I’m the enabler.


I hope binge-watching BoJack Horseman won’t give you permanent brain damage. I profoundly hope you boomerang back when your education is complete. We’d like to enjoy the fruits of our labour.


A gene automatically ingrained in new mothers. Did you notice how much time I spent on the computer, researching how to be a good mother? Probably not, because I ignored you while I looked.



You’re thoughtful, funny, and kind. We’ve had the time of our lives living vicariously through your friends. You’ll make the world a better place.


During Toy Story 3, you excitedly announced both you and Andy are leaving for college. Queue waterworks. You’ll make poor choices, face heartbreak, and endure alcohol poisoning. I hope school doesn’t get in the way.


You’ve gone MIA, partying with friends and staying out too late. But I’m onto you. It’s called soiling the nest. Making us miserable, so it’s easier for you to leave, and for us to set you free.

Letting go

Eighteen years ago, I nested. I spent months preparing the nursery and covering electrical outlets. Now I nest again, only this time you’re leaving. I grew you, you’ll always 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!

  17. Sandra

    My “baby” graduates high school next week. Where does the time go?!! EEEK!! Congrats to Brennan on graduating University, such exciting times for him!

  18. Karen

    I loved this Val, your son has the best genes possible. (I love the pizza boxes in the background in pic #2)

  19. Jodi

    Love this. Beautiful.

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