It’s the first day of public school in our town. The early morning air is abuzz with anticipation and the blowing exhaust of yellow busses stopping and starting on High Street, just behind my bedroom window. I think school still starts criminally too soon in these parts. The school day begins earlier now. It ends later. These are things I’m aware of, but this year we’re missing the adjustment to the new hours, class and lunch schedules, the re-working of the master calendar, because our daughters are leaving home for college. I know in households all over town, and definitely in the kitchens where our teachers ate supper last night, many people were thinking “Here we go again!”
Let me acknowledge and offer thanks for my children’s passage through the public school system, the good and hard lessons we all learned along the way: that you get out of what you put in to any experience, that hard work pays off, that team work tests and rewards you, that kindness matters, and there is more than practical wisdom in cleaning up your own messes--that teachers, like parents, are human and run the gamut from so-so to fabulous. The ones I appreciate the most made my children feel seen and heard and encouraged their confidence along the way.
So our nest will be empty. I’m poised on the edge of grief for the loss of them in our day to day lives and gratefulness for the young women they’ve become. There’s a deep awareness that, while we will always be connected, their journeys will now take them further afield to navigate their own vulnerabilities in this world.
The other night we had old family friends over. Once upon a time our kids ran crazily through backyards, jacked up on sugary sodas , chips and salsa, while the grown ups played music and sang songs for fun . This year, our older teens and 20-somethings sat in a circle and taught us songs—rounds and improvisational music games. For so many years I was sure that the music-times we loved would be permanently rejected by our individuating children. Turns out my wiser friends with older children were right. They’d come around eventually.
The greatest gift of the evening was a Round several of them learned at Malcolm Dalglish’s Ooolation Camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains this summer. I love what is round about a Round, and what felt piercingly apt to me as we circle around the seasons of our lives.
Our children really do leave us but when you’re lucky, they come back bearing gifts of song and wisdom, just when you need it most. Together, we move along.
This was our Sunday Evening Round 8/14/11
For all that has been/take lessons, take lessons and be grateful/ let go, let go, let go, let go/let go and move/move on/move on
BLR for the Poplar Grove Muse