Change is in the air this summer. All three of our children will soon be in college – one transferring from community college, one entering her junior year, and our “baby” who just graduated from high school, attending her first year of college. Our middle child will also be heading to Buenos Aires for a semester abroad from the end of July until December.
I always thought I would be a complete wreck as my kids became teens, then graduated from high school and left home to attend college. I have been surprised that as they get older, I am excited to see who they are becoming. It fills me with pride and a sense of satisfaction to see that all our hard work when they were little is coming to fruition, that the lessons we hoped to teach them were learned and internalized, that they are wonderful people. This is not to say I am not emotional, or that they will be perfect and not make any mistakes. We know they will, and that is of course part of the learning process of becoming an adult. I think they know that we will be there every step of the way – backing them up, holding them close, and listening to them without judgment (or trying hard!) when things don’t go as planned – so that making mistakes is a little less scary. It is a wonderful and scary process to see them slip and stumble, grow and improve and to make big decisions with big impacts and also continue to be silly and have fun. People told me years ago that it is beautiful to see your children morph into these beings, but I always thought I would be so sad I wouldn’t see the beauty in it. I am sad, too, but grief has taught me that there is only one way forward, no going back.
Changes are also happening in my school district. Some of these are long overdue changes and I am hoping they will have positive outcomes. I continue to love and believe in my school and treasure my students. I’m lucky to feel that way in my almost 30th year of teaching. I still have hope that things will improve and that we will grow and see positive changes. I have hope that our students will recover from COVID learning and their socialization stagnation. I even still feel excitement at the prospect of the new school year - something about school supplies and starting all over again is thrilling.
But first - I wish everyone a relaxing summer that fills your cup in the ways you need it filled. I know I'm looking forward to having that first morning cup of coffee without being rushed, to lounging in the pool, to seeing friends, taking walks, reading (not only before bed), and hugging my kids close until it's time for them to go.