I knew last week would be hard.
Perhaps “hard” isn’t the most appropriate word – emotional suits, as does humbled, as well as nostalgic. The cause of all of this was quite simple, in the big scheme of things. Last Thursday my son graduated from Junior High, but even bigger (for us) was my daughter completing her time at elementary school.
As the youngest, her final day at Magnolia Elementary as a sixth grader ended a chapter for our family. A place we had spent thousands of hours in over the course of nine years, beginning with her brother, two years ahead of her.
When my daughter entered kindergarten we began a morning ritual. The three of us would embrace in one big hug, I’d kiss them each on the head and we’d say “I love you” to one another. At the time of its beginning, it was really more for me and a bit for my youngest as she missed mommy a bit more than her brother while at school.
Never in my wildest dreams did I envision we would still be doing this seven years later. Yet, on Thursday, May 23 my son and I climbed out of the car to family hug before our youngest walked onto the Magnolia campus. I think I can count on two hands how many times we have not done this in seven years. At the impact of embrace, my youngest and I teared up. As we did this, she whispered, “this is it mom.” As my grip tightened I quickly replied, “yes it is, make it count.”
Journeying to my next stop on the east side of town, depositing my son at the Junior High for his final day as a Ram, I thought about how hard the end of things can be sometimes (most especially with our children). I thought about how excited we get for the firsts: first step, first word, first sleep through the night.
Lasts are a bit different. After all they signify ending, which often times lead to something greater when speaking of our kids, yet they’re still hard.
Some speak of life in seasons, I tend to bounce between speaking of chapters and sometimes I use seasons as well.
As emotion overcame me a bit, as my son climbed out of the car at the junior high for the last time, I thought about this Chapter. The first third of the mom book now complete, as elementary school ends.
I revisited a few of the “firsts”, first day of school, first report card, award assembly, Harvest Festival and I beamed. What a beautiful “middle” we had to this chapter. Oh sure there was also pink eye, lice, mean kids and disappointment, but all and all it was a pretty stellar and memory filled middle.
Now as we head into this next Chapter of length, my daughter will change classes for the first time, attend her first dance, while her brother will get his first license and yes, even vote. This is a big Chapter coming for the mom book.
The lesson however, the reminder I must revisit regularly is to stay present. To always remember to live in the moment, each of those firsts to come in their own time. As there are new firsts, the lasts will come as well, but the middle … the magic and the memories will once again be built around what comes in the middle of the Chapter.
Since a young age, I’ve always loved a good book. I’ve always been an avid reader. So perhaps, last week, as emotion continued to leak from my eyes, maybe just maybe the emotion was a result of what I’ve shared here. On the other hand, the emotion may also be prompted by both the magnitude, as well as the beauty of finishing the first chapter of my mom book. What a blessing this life is.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.