The first of the last

Last week, as I walked down the steps of the local high school, the halls all quiet for now, I surprised myself by tearing up. I haven’t spent a lot of time in this school, not like the time spent in elementary schools, but I know it holds memories of my sons and my daughter, and now here we are, at the beginning of the end. My girl, my baby, the last one, you see, starts her first day of her last year of high school today, and it sends me edging closer and closer to that final moment of this stage of parenting.

It ends soon.

I’m supposed to be rejoicing, and in many ways I am, because I’m proud of my children and always excited about their lives (and it HAS been a big year), but I’m also balking at the idea. Rejoice? Over the end of this beautiful time in my life? Who sits inside the bubble of something wonderful and says, “This has to end!”? Not me.

Some laugh and tell me I’m being too dramatic or that I need to get over it, but sometimes I sit across the table of another mother and I know she gets it. We get choked on the words as we try to express excitement. And then we laugh because we see that we aren’t alone in this weird transitional phase, this letting go, whether it’s the first baby or the last.

On this first day of school, this first day of the last year — the last of my children in their high school years — I really am excited for the year ahead, but I know it will be brief, flying by through a flurry of color guard practices, football games, carpool* (only for a brief time, though, since driver’s license and car are right around the corner too), and flying out the door each morning. Before I know it, all who love this girl will be sitting together in a row, anticipating the end of the alphabet so we can see the baby walk across the stage, and then onward we will fly, on and on and on, going wherever this breeze of life takes her.

But for now, I listen to one of the last mornings of her getting her hair just right in the bathroom, see her lean into the mirror to apply her mascara, and breathe in echoes of the last 13 years of school mornings. It ends soon, but today I’m holding on.

Senior Year

*Truth in Advertising: I loathe carpool.

homehire mecontact meback to top

Kelley J Leigh - Beautiful.

Stop the madness: Focus

Truth – I often thrive on busyness. I fill my planner and schedule life and work and assignments down to the minute. I create checklists on Evernote now, weekly but broken into days, so that I can fill in all the things I must do and get done and go get and mail and email and call and fetch from the grocery store. I wear many hats. Or, at least, I did…until this week.

In the last several weeks, I’ve been reanalyzing my life, my time. I’ve written in the past about my inability to do ALL THE THINGS, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. And then I find myself in a puddle of goo with a long list, paralyzed about which to do first. Every once in a while you have to just stop and look around. My big stop came as I was driving home at 2:00 in the morning from a wedding recently. With at least three hours of driving ahead of me, my full day of work was going to end up being 20 hours long. By the time I crawled into bed at almost 5 a.m., I had decided change needed to take place.

The biggest indicator that an explosion of self was imminent was that the husband and I had two days planned to “get away” to the mountains (higher, that is, since we live in the foothills of Pikes Peak), a stay-cation to celebrate our upcoming anniversary … and all I could think about was how going away for two days was going to wreck my to-do list. I was going to fall even further behind, and eventually I was going to be up at 2:00 in the morning again, only this time driving my computer through a million photos.

So, round about 3:30 in the morning, as I frustratingly tried to navigate my way through a city I was unfamiliar with because of an unexpected interstate detour, I realized the world would be ok if I stopped with the busy. No one would fire me if I took time off from my 7-day workweek.

Now, not for two seconds am I trying to convince you that I am a changed woman. I made some changes, but the whole thing is a process. Learning to say “no,” learning to say “not right now,” and learning to draw out boundaries is ongoing for me. I’ve decided to stop doing some things that I love in order to have time for other things I love, and frankly, for time to do the things that need to get done. I’ve pulled back in many ways that aren’t visible to the outside world but they’ve taken some heavy weights from my shoulders. And as my husband snoozed in the passenger seat while I drove us home from our two days away, I realized that for now, at this time, I have to put my time, energy, and focus where it belongs, regardless of how good an opportunity or project is.

Related: Revisiting the Reboot: Changes vs. The Journey

homehire mecontact meback to top

Venn Magazine: When God Called My Son

“Food drew him in, but Jesus lit him on fire. That’s how I explain what happened to my eldest son when he was 14, the year his own walk with Jesus began. But I only told close friends how annoyed we were with him, the way he was so excited about church and the ideas he had, the way he went on and on about how great God was. Because frankly, as much as I believed in God, as often as I prayed, I didn’t want anything to do with this religion that my son loved so much. If anything, I wanted to scream at him that religion didn’t want him because they told me to abort him. How could I trust a place like that?”

Continued at Venn Magazine

homehire mecontact meback to top