End of Summer

Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.
Transitions are hard.
Last week marked a major milestone for us. Our youngest was enrolled in preschool two days per week, my last baby marching out of the house in a plaid jumper and an attitude.
For nearly sixteen years, my life has revolved around my children. I have worked full time, part time and all the time from home. For ten of those years I homeschooled them. Our days were full, full, full with math and art and pencils and spilled paint on the carpet (ask them if they remember that day) and noise and books and messes. Warm bodies everywhere. A thousand tasks. The feeling that there was never enough time, enough day, enough of me to go around. Wondering if I would ever have the time to do the things I wanted to do, to dive into the glorious someday of work and career and adult conversation.
Well, here I am.
In an astonishingly short time, first one, then four and now six children are off. For 18 hours every week, my house is silent. The dog is very sad. I have time – nothing but time! So much of it that it feels a little unsteady, taking the training wheels off for the first time or removing a cast.
I loved that season. Even when it was hard and frustrating, there was so much life and joy in it. I didn’t want it to end, but it was clear that it was ending. Time was shifting and a new season was beginning.
Life is like that. Whether we like it or not, the planet spins and the sun sets and seasons change. Because we are not meant to live in place, in a paralyzed homeostasis. We ought to outgrow ourselves from time to time. Sometimes, things we love die. It’s painful, but those things nourish the new things that grow.
Accepting change also helps me remember that I am actually not running this freak show.
What’s next? I don’t know. I’ve never been here before. I’m feeling a little weepy and reflective. I’m walking slow, picking my way around, being careful where I set my feet. Trying to get a bearing on my new surroundings. It’s scary and sad, but also hopeful. I’m doing a lot of reminiscing on the beauty of what’s passed, soaking it in and holding it close before letting it go. It’s a cleansing kind of thing.
When I’m ready, I’ll brush it off, stand up and charge forward into the new season, with attitude, just like my tiniest human. Except, maybe, without the jumper.

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