Sunday, June 5, 2016

An afternoon reflection: As kids grow, nostalgia blooms

It’s a beautiful and very warm Sunday afternoon as I sit here at my desk, trying to stay cool in shorts and a tank top, while a fan blows semi-cool air my way. I would rather be outside enjoying the sunshine, and I was out earlier this morning to tend to my gardens, but by 11:00 a.m. it was just too hot. If not for my own sake, I had to finally head inside for the sake of my dog, Piper, who just can’t handle the type of heat we’re expected to get today (around 95 degrees). 

I don’t know what sort of summer we’re expected to have in the Pacific Northwest this year, and I do hope it’s a good one, but I really don’t want a repeat of last year with temps too high for so long that our whole yard was burned and crispy so that it was no longer enjoyable to walk outside barefoot. Greens were hard to come by so that the deer were desperate for food, even going so far as to tear my tomato plants out of the ground. 

We’re about to begin a new season, and with the beginning of summer, I’m also preparing myself for another type of season, or phase in my life. Our youngest is graduating high school this week and after 23 years, I’m moving on from our small-town schools, parent-teacher conferences, school dances, sporting events, booster clubs, and other school events. There’s a real mixture of feelings when you actually think about the fact that all of your kids are out of high school.

When our children graduate high school, we tend to look backwards almost as much as we look ahead. We think about how quickly they have grown. How it didn’t seem that long ago when we felt a mixture of excitement and fear as we handed them off to the teacher on their first day of school. How we tried our best to balance teaching them about life with letting them learn on their own. How much we worried about them and only ever wanted them to always have great days and good experiences. 

And we look at these amazing individuals who have grown into such wonderful human beings, and we are ever so thankful we somehow did more right than wrong so that they actually turned out okay.     

Am I a bit nostalgic today? 

You bet I am.

I’m also in a bit of shock when I think about the fact that I’m the mother of two grown men.

There’s a lot to be said about the change in seasons when it comes to our lives. From newlyweds, to parents with a busy family life, to empty-nesters who eventually become grandparents before moving on to retirement, there are a number of times when a new phase in life makes us stand still for just a moment as we take stock in what we’ve accomplished and what we’re about to move on to next. These phases bring a mixture of nostalgia, as well as excitement in what’s to come.

I’m admittedly pretty stuck in my ways and usually change is hard for me. But when it comes to change as it involves a new phase in my life, I feel more excitement than fear. Usually, we fear change due to what we believe we have to give up, rather than looking forward to what may be gained. While this change has caused me to spend time reflecting on what has passed, I am ready for this new phase and I eagerly look forward to the future. 

Whatever phase in life you’re in, I hope it brings you more excitement than fear.

Have a great week!

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