Why, oh why are you always so full?
Our fifteen year wedding anniversary . . .
and a trip to celebrate it with . . .
School presentations, conferences, graduation parties.
Sunshine and flowers and gardening . . .
A tea party for friends . . .
And a week of virus-fighting within the family.
Father sick for Father's Day. The Oldest's last day of seventh grade.
Somewhere in between it all time slipped silently by. And a personal achievement was gained- one without recognition or fanfare. No ceremony or cap. Just an empty 'school' room left in a thoughtless jumble as the final day ended in a blink of an eye- our final day of home school.
My final day of teaching.
After eight straight years of home schooling my sons through elementary school- it's over. The Youngest has finished fifth grade and next year he'll join his brother in middle school.
And it came suddenly too- a phone call one morning saying our paperwork was done. Everything was satisfactory and the final conference I had been expecting wasn't even necessary. Goodbye.
And I cried.
I can't even explain all that I feel . . . exhaustion for sure. And the bittersweet. And the relief and excitement for what lies ahead. I'm grateful to be done. Happy to finish what I set out to do.
And yet . . .
how do you mark eight years of your life? How do you cap it off, nod to it with respect and then lay it down forever when there's nothing there to do it with?
At each life transition there seems to be something which celebrates what was and welcomes in what is to come . . . graduations, marriage ceremonies, bridal showers, baby showers, housewarmings, anniversaries and even funerals- they all mark a person's story. But parenting . . . ?
As I stood in that room and cried I realized I was grieving time passing and my children growing up and I thought how this moment was only a little taste of what is to come.
It seems so strange that we should give so much of ourselves and then it is suddenly done.
And I thought-
No wonder so many parents suffer with 'empty nesting'! We celebrate our children and all they've accomplished, but do we celebrate what we have given, as well? Do we allow ourselves to pass with grace into this next chapter of our lives? Because our story is part of their story.
So, as I've been pondering this all week I'm thinking two things . . .
1. I need to do or create something that will celebrate what I have given and received over eight years of teaching my sons. Something personal and meaningful so I can lay it to rest in peace and enjoy the next thing, and . . .
2. We need to start a movement for those parents whose children have grown and are on there way out- 'Empty Nest' showers! Seriously- it's time to celebrate parents. We do so before the children even arrive, so how much more do we deserve a party once they leave? Wouldn't it be wonderful to throw a party for one another to celebrate not only the rearing of our children, but also who we've now become through the rearing of those children? Might that not help us demystify our own identities and separate ourselves once more toward dreams that so often get put aside as we parent?
Anyway- it's a thought. I have five more years to go until my Oldest departs, and without a doubt we will celebrate all his achievements to the fullest. And two years later, we will do it all again with our Youngest. But the partying isn't going to stop there . . . though, I do think we will put it off until September since June is quite full enough!