Finally summer has arrived! The northeast has been pummeled with constant rain and windstorms for what seems like months. Nevertheless, my family surged over the finish line ending freshman year of high school for Noah and 6th grade for Jordan. As I write this it really begins to hit me for the first time, I have children in high school and middle school. I mean I know that but to see it in print….
Luckily for all of us, pre-teen angst is similar to my halftime angst. I call it halftime because it sounds better, more optimistic. Or maybe I’ve just been living with boys for too long. Middle age sounds dowdy, decrepit, and old. Like a clock slowly winding down, tick tick. Halftime sounds optimistic like there’s more of the game left to be played. There’s still time to reevaluate prior mistakes and successes, make adjustments big and small before the second half. A do over of sorts. I may be rationalizing a bit here but a bit of self-delusion may be all I’ve got.
Predictably, this year has been filled with the unexpected intermittent, uninvited hot flashes, skin and body/image changes you would expect at this age. There are the inevitable mood swings, temper tantrums, irritability, interminable sleep marathons, insatiable hunger, (which can lead to tantrums, but I digress), sleep deprivation, exhaustion, talking endlessly to people who don’t seem to understand the english language, and frustration! Indecision, indifference and confusion often lead to complaints such as: “I’m bored” to “I never get to do anything fun”, and my personal favorite, “I just need time to myself.” This daily litany and self-analysis is enough to drive a person crazy. And it’s not just about me, if you think all of that sounds beyond unbearable, the boy’s moods swings, temper tantrums and changes have been no picnic to live through either.
Still summer is a transition and a welcome one at that. We can seclude ourselves on the deck, at the beach or tucked cozily on our beds reading (me), watching tv, playing video games, with an occasional grunt which passes for conversation, (boys). This summer I have decided to just live without a plan or a goal. Okay decided sounds like I had a choice my sons thought otherwise.
With the usual complaints and occasional disdain from my sons, the consensus is that: “we don’t need you to plan every minute of our day we’re older now”. Fair enough, (If only that didn’t include the constant hurrying up to wait and “oh didn’t I tell you that I need $20. and my game is 45 minutes away and I told you I need a ride and we have to pick up….Why aren’t you dressed????”). What? Nobody told me! Which is inevitably followed by the bemoaning sounds of “Oh Mom!” There is the ever-present muttering, mumbling and criticism which haunts my days and sometimes nights. Any other men/boys and I might have broken up with them by now. I mean I’m supposed to get life advice from a 15 and a 12-year-old? Yeah right, (cue eye roll). See, I’m learning.
Since they’re so smart, I’m taking their advice. Here’s to staying loose and letting the summer unfold, teenage style. Despite the challenges of living with boys who crash into walls, spill any liquid they touch, break every glass/plate/cup we own, and don’t get me started talking about bathroom hygiene and cleanliness.,(don’t fret, a trick of the trade for teenage boys, Axe body wash, minus the body wash part), it’s gonna be a great time.
We are living it up, enjoying life, and spending time together, mostly. We’re gonna take it easy and go where the wind takes us. It’s only half time but I like the way the first half of the game has gone so far. Here’s hoping I kick butt in the second half.
Moving from one familiar place to another unknown and unfamiliar territory causes me angst. Even if I know the change is good for me I still find myself looking longingly over my shoulder at what should or could have been, wondering if I’ve made the right decision. Should I go back or trudge blindingly forward?
Finally with apprehension and trepidation I slowly turn my head and my focus to the challenges ahead. I take a deep breath, square my shoulders and I plunge on. I promise not to look back. I try not to relive only the most wonderful memories and glamorize the things I’ve left behind. I remind myself that I am moving on for a reason. I remind myself that letting go of people, places and things is very difficult for me. Often it is the absolute last resort as I am a born problem solver. I try getting over a problem, through, under, around, ….exhaustion ensues and I have to admit I’ve done all that I can. Again and again. Time to let go. To go where?
Truly it’s not the flying, plummeting, free fall that I mind so much, exactly. No, it’s the terrifying white knuckle moments right before flight that is my nemesis. I cling, shredding my nails, clutching tightly until my arms cramp, making useless and futile bargains with God in a vain attempt to forestall the inevitable…. letting go, saying goodbye. Moving on. Falling into the hollowness with no flight plan and no parachute.
Finally, I slowly loosen my death-like clutch on the past…. I release myself to the fates and to the winds of change. I will attempt to be gracious, open-minded, curious and kind. I will use this time of transition to become a better version of myself with my newfound knowledge and enlightenment. I will open my arms wide and appreciate the storm of change as the past whips by with the sound of a locomotive and the silence of transition approaches , engulfs and hopefully cradles me.
It is here my work will begin. I will land in a different place and my climb will begin anew. Ascending and trusting the Godwinks I must now rely on as if my life depended on it, because surely it does. I’m in uncharted water apprehensive and uncertain. It will be here that my new purpose and my faith will collide. Trusting that while I am uncomfortable and tentative I will prevail. I will pray for guidance and strength to trust that deep in the dark abyss of transition there is a safety net that is as yet unseen.
It is a comfort and a relief to know that I am not alone. At the very least I hope to find that I am braver than I know.
I scarcely had time to catch my breath and summer was over. July seems like eons ago and August flew by in a swirl of dust and tumbleweeds. It seems like summer finally began after the 4th of July looming endless and immense. As quickly as it began, it felt as if it was abruptly and most certainly over.
Still in all it was a memorable summer. A summer of transitions for me and my boys. While we strived to maintain status quo our lives were shifting and irrevocably changing and thus a whole new chapter was ushered in. Ready or not.
My sons are entering High School and Jr. High respectively. The challenges and excitement of growing up outweighs any trepidation they may feel as they begin anew. Without a backward glance they sprang from the easy, lazy days of summer to the hectic, hustle and bustle of school life with glee and anticipation.
Suddenly the notion of them racing towards the future, college beckoning on the horizon and I want to freeze the clocks and slow down for a second. Press the pause button. Hold on to this moment, this summer, this autumn and grab all the time with them that I can. Time that had once seemed infinite…is now brushing past me, hurriedly and with great haste. I am left grasping moments to hold to my heart as they begin to pull away and fly.
It is as it should be and I am grateful that this summer I recognized that I needed to stop and store up my memories like squirrels gathering nuts for the winter. So rather than focusing on what I “should be” doing, I focused on soaking up every nanosecond of time with my boys that I could. I watched, listened and absorbed everything they said and did, memorializing our summer of 2016.
While changes comes to all of us whether we are ready or not they are not always unwelcome. They may be different and all too many times necessary but focusing on the good that lies ahead reminds me that transitions are opportunities to find a whole new unexpected path. Like shaking up a snow globe and watching everything slowly settle, differently and in a whole new way. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable. I’m learning to be okay with that. Now about that time machine…!!!
I took a long leisurely meandering drive with one of my best friends.
We had no destination in mind and we found ourselves in a small town with historic homes, barns and mysterious winding roads sumptuous and beckoning.
We couldn’t resist….