DEAR ABBY: When I was a child, my parents skipped my elementary school graduation. For that matter, everyone did. My grandfather had just died, so Mom was mourning his loss. Fast-forward a few years — nobody attended my junior high graduation, either. Granted, Mom had a couple of stitches in her nose because my brother had accidentally hit her with a golf club the week before.
Well, my younger siblings just graduated from elementary school, and my parents have again skipped the event due to their work schedules. A mix of emotions is resurfacing for me. I’m angry and frustrated. I’m 26 now, and a long time has passed since they disappointed me, but I guess I haven’t ever truly forgiven them for missing those events. After all, these are once-in-a-lifetime milestones for a child, right?
Am I justified in feeling anger toward my parents for deciding to miss not only my graduations, but also those of my younger siblings? Should I talk to them or let it go? What can I do? — RELIVING IT IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR RELIVING IT: How has your relationship with your parents been otherwise? If they have always been loving and supportive in other ways, then perhaps you shouldn’t be so hard on them. When I was young, there were high school and college graduation ceremonies with cap, gown and diploma, but none for children leaving elementary school or junior high. At most, the event might be celebrated by going out for a family dinner.
Frankly, I think that multiple graduation ceremonies — while they may make cute photo-ops — dilute the importance of the one from high school. If you want to “do something,” rather than vent your anger at your parents, it would be more constructive if you made a point of attending your siblings’ graduations in the future.