Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Day of Pause

Today is Tuesday. With the year's activities winding down, this is the first day in weeks when I really have no where to be. My children do not have activities... we oddly do not even have baseball this evening. My littlest ones do not have preschool. The Mom's Group I run has finished for the season and at 10:00 AM, I am still in my pajamas. This day is, for us, a day of pause.

Yesterday Josiah and Elizabeth went to preschool for the very last regular day. While Elizabeth will return in the Fall to that school, and to that amazing group of patient, Godly women, it was literally Josiah's last day. He takes endings hard and spent a lot of time over the weekend reflecting on this loss. It was a bittersweet day... not just for him but for me as well. Tomorrow is Elizabeth and Josiah's preschool program and Josiah will graduate. He will be given a Bible storybook and will walk across the front of the church and somewhere in those steps he will cross over a hidden threshold and find himself in a whole new world. No longer a preschooler but instead a kindergartner.

Today, Noah is on a field trip. The fifth graders are at the Dunes for the day celebrating the end of grade school. My oldest is heading to middle school and today is his day to play and run and rejoice. Mark went with him and though it is barely 60 degrees outside, both talked about jumping into Lake Michigan with Noah's buddies from school.

In two days, the fifth graders will spend one hour, in school, having "the talk". There is no way for me to ignore it or pretend it is not happening. He is growing up. I must admit, I have mixed feelings about it all... I am excited for Noah and find myself smiling at how enthusiastically he is approaching his own adolescence. But, I know what it is to be momma to little boys. I know what it is to be momma to babies and preschoolers and elementary students. What does it look like to parent a young man? A teenager? This holds new challenges for Mark and I. It is a strange thing, I think, to look into the face of growing boy and still see, somewhere behind his eyes, the face that I gazed upon the day he was born.

I was at a baby shower this past weekend. A dear friend of mine who taught with me for years in Indiana is expecting her first baby. She is thrilled and those of us who have traveled with her could not possibly be happier. We were asked to share parenting advice and each of the women in the room eagerly jotted down a thought or two. We sat together with decades of parenting experience... many having little ones and some of us in the throes of adolescence. There were women there too who had children leaving for college and some with children older than that. One momma suggested that my friend take the time to hold her children... and do not rush... sit and hold them and revel in that moment because in very short order, her babies will be grown. And do you know what happened next? That room of mommas, all in different stages, swallowed hard, dotted at their eyes and held in their hearts the memories of their babies in their arms, rocking, singing, crying, holding... moments that passed all too quickly.

Today is a day of pause for us. While we sit here at home, enjoying a gloriously slow morning with little to nothing calling us to the next best thing, my kids are preparing for changes in their young lives. Elizabeth will be going to preschool, without Josiah... a fact that already has her telling him how much he will be missed in the fall. Josiah will be going off to full-day Kindergarten... leaving behind his beloved preschool and his sister and and momma as well. Benjamin will be heading into fourth grade... the year of projects and a lot of "parent homework". And Noah? He will be in middle school... with a locker and a team of teachers and a social scene that will be new and different. It is a lot of change for us. But for today, we have a minute to breathe and think and reflect on the wonder of the journey we have traveled so far. We have time to be grateful for it all and know that it has been GOOD... really, really GOOD. Change does not have to be negative and for me this is a good reminder. Being with my babies through each and every stage has been an incredible experience. I have great hope that the future holds the same.

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