As most mothers with kids in school do, I tend to think of my year in terms of summer vacation and the school year. This last school year was my daughter's last year of high school. It was awesome and full. I was determined to do anything in my power to make it be the best year ever for her. I think in most ways, it was! But it was kind of wonderful and kind of sad. I cherished each moment of each day. However, there were so many "lasts." Last homecoming dance, last football game, last track meet, last basketball game, last (and first) Senior Prom, last, last, last. And even though I celebrate her and her beautiful future, I grieved every "last." I just couldn't stop it. It hit me hard!!!! I have two children, a boy and a girl. My boy, Joey graduated from high school five years before his sister. I grieved that too, but consoled myself with, "Well, at least I have five more years with Sammy." How can those five years already be gone?
I must admit that I have done this a bit with every phase and every school year with both of my children, but I always knew there were so many more beginnings. I love beginnings - the beginning of vacation, the beginning of the Christmas season, the beginning of summer, the beginning of the school year. I know there are more beginnings, but not childhood beginnings... and so... I got sad, really sad. I smiled and celebrated and functioned, and said prayers of gratitude, and meant it, but in between the track meets and my own work, and keeping up the house and being a proper friend, and wife, and hiding my sadness from her and my family, I cried - a lot - and slept - a lot. I suffered...
I'm better now and facing this next phase of her life and mine, as an "empty nester" with my usual optimism and cheerful attitude, always propelled by faith and gratitude. And so I prepare for the next beginning.
the inevitable end of things,
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and how we will greet each new beginning.
~Alana K. Arnold