One week from tomorrow Cole heads out for his freshman year of college.
A few weeks ago, Aidan moved out to prepare for the start of her law school adventure, slated to kick off right after Labor Day.
Dan is teaching a new grade this year (a third and fourth split), luckily at the same school, but a whole new deal nonetheless.
And me? I get to navigate this new space of transition and uncertainty.
I wonder if anyone has written a book called What To Expect When They All Start to Move Out? I thought of this last week, when Dan and I were walking to our favorite neighborhood pizza joint and he was looking in every Little Library along the way, and there it was, a hardly touched copy of the seminal classic, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
God, I remember those days. I remember buying that book. I remember reading some of the chapters with abject horror. WHAT THE HELL? That’s not even REMOTELY possible!
As I looked at the intact spine of the book sitting in that Little Library, I thought, did the previous owners also learn that all bets were off once those glorious creatures slipped out into the atmosphere?
Did they learn that nothing can really prepare you for the actual experience of becoming a parent? The uncertainty, the exhilaration, the pride, the sleeplessness, the frustration, the pain, the joy, the mundanity and the sheer preciousness and magic of it all?
We prepare so hard for bringing new life onto the planet. Most of the time, anyway. There is a never ending stream of information on how to do this thing, this parenting thing. This raise those kids thing.
I believe if you’re smart, you keep working it. You keep learning. You keep growing and changing to meet their needs at every developmental step along the way.
I wasn’t always that smart though. Therapy has helped a lot, and even still, I make a lot of mistakes.
But the way that I’m most definitely smarter than before? I usually learn from them.
For all the information out there on What to Expect When You’re… [ insert phase here ], it feels like there are fewer resources for when they start to leave.
Yes, there are some great articles I’ve read recently about sending your kid off to college, and it does feel a bit easier as we prepare to launch child no. 2.
But just the general time of the family unit transitioning… I feel there is less out there on that, so this post, I suppose, is geared towards exploring that.
And I’m not sure what I want to say just yet.
I titled this post Transitions, Middle Age and Chin Hair and you should know that chin hair is an easy topic. When you see one, and ladies, they will literally grow a half inch overnight in the brave new world of Menopause, you grab your tweezers and pluck those suckers out.
Transitions and Middle Age? Well, those are harder. Those require more skill and multiple tools. Those are the things I’m trying to work my way into and through.
This morning I woke up at 3:10 a.m. This has been happening a lot lately. I’m not really sleeping very well right now. I’m having anxiety about all of this transition and I really want to be constructive with it, as opposed to being neurotic about it. I know I don’t write as much here in this space. I don’t share as many personal stories as I once did. There are many reasons for that. Some of it really does revolve around stories that are not mine to tell. My children’s lives are their own now and that is something I respect tremendously.
But there is also the idea that the more I know, the less I’m knowing. That’s actually a line from a Cloud Cult song, but it’s really resonating with me these days because I’m working on stuff most days and do not always emerge with neat and tidy answers.
Neat and tidy used to be my favorite thing and a thing that I believe cost me a lot of experience in my life that could have changed and touched me in real ways.
I have learned that life is messier than that. It’s not tidy. It’s not neat. And when I let go and take it as it comes, I have the potential for a much more interesting ride.
So today, I’m just putting a bit of my experience back out there. I’m in a time of transition and I’m hoping to learn a lot from it.
And if I make mistakes, which believe me, I will… I’ll learn from them and keep moving forward.
That, and I’ll always keep my tweezers handy.