It’s been years since they were last home full time, but somehow their college graduation feels like the end of childhood. The job offers have started to pour in, and work will undoubtedly take them into the city and away from you. Their grown-up, responsible adult lives are about to start, and today’s graduation marks that transition somehow. It’s going to be emotional, but you still have a few more Mom duties to undertake:

Helping Your Son or Daughter Prepare

It’s fair to say that your child is just as nervous as you are about today. There are likely to be speeches and that starring moment up on the stage as they receive their degree. Sure, it’s a lot of posing and ceremony, but it is also the moment that all that study has been leading up to. Without a doubt, the last few years have been tough. There have been many anxious moments leading up to exams. As you help your child dress up for the big day, no doubt those Momma bear instincts will still be kicking in. Perhaps they never go away?

Starting The Journey

Traveling back to campus for the last time can also be pretty emotional for your son or daughter. They have undoubtedly made many memories here, both good and bad. They also know that many of the acquaintances and friends they’ve made are about to leave their circle today. Staying in touch always seems to be such a challenge. At least you know the way back to the college. Parking, however, is likely to be a bigger challenge!

Dressing Up

When your child arrives for the formal ceremony, they will be ushered toward a robing area. Here they will be allocated a pre-ordered cap and gown for the graduation. Some parents like to buy these, but it isn’t usually necessary. These are cumbersome items and mirror time is limited. You might be called upon to make last minute adjustments to make sure everything is right for the photos.

Why not make some additions of your own? It has taken a lot of work and sacrifice to reach this point. A new watch, some earrings or a fresh lei might be the perfect finish for this ensemble. If you’re not sure when a lei is appropriate for a graduation, check out the With Our Aloha website for more information. It can be the ideal accompaniment to your outfit and bring out plenty of color in the photos.


The professional photographers on campus will have limited time for special setups or poses. If you want a pic with family, make sure everyone is ready for it. Usually, a portrait of your child wearing their cap and gown and holding a prop certificate is used. Don’t forget that you can take all the photos you want. However, it’s a busy day so finding a great backdrop with nobody else in the frame might prove challenging.

The Ceremony

Chances are you’re not going to get the best vantage point to see everything without a neck strain. You might choose to stand to the side but make sure you have a good zoom lens so you can still get an up-close shot of the handshake. Graduates are usually announced alphabetically, so you should get an idea of how long to wait. Your best photo opportunities are the pause at the handshake for a pic and the walk and wave off stage.

The Speeches

If your child has been selected to make a speech, you might want to video the occasion. Of course, this is nerve-wracking, so offer plenty of relaxation techniques on the day. Encourage your son or daughter to pick you out in the crowd for an eyeline. This helps to avoid them looking down. Perhaps you’ve already rehearsed with them a few times? Just keep smiling with proud, no matter what happens on the day. Public speaking is really tough, especially when you’re young.

The Graduation Ball

After all the ceremonies, it’s time to de-robe and head to the graduation ball. This is the moment your child will finally be able to let his or her hair down. It might get a little wild! Still, if you’re attending too, just go along with it and enjoy yourselves as well. In a way, this is your night too. The transition is complete, and your role in their life has now changed. It’s time for them to spread their wings and cut their own career course. Of course, you know they’ll be back on laundry day and for a good home-cooked meal!