The dry winds swept through last week; stirring up the layers of dust amidst one hundred plus temps. We are only in the month of May. This is an anomaly.
Anomaly: noun. Something that is unusual or unexpected. ~ merriam-webster.com
I find myself swept up amongst an endless merry-go-round of end-of-the school year activities. Most years I am ready for summer; the break from homework, projects and scheduling conflicts. But this year is different. It is the first year I see the end-game in sight.
For the passage of time sweeps by quickly. I don’t want the dust to settle just yet. I want to go for the ride and not miss the boat. My girlfriend’s text has become my new motto.
Be happy and LIVE.
Because life is too short. I don’t want to regretfully ponder, What if? What if I had done this? I wished I had spent more time doing that. The winds are changing and I am learning to navigate my way; having it fill my sails and propel me forward. I stand at the stern, the wind at my back. My arms. I fling them wide open.
I am embracing change. Transitions.
“Change is the only constant in life.” ― Heraclitus
I want to occupy my shoes in this life; not be a bystander watching things pass me by. As a young girl I watched the kids in my neighborhood climb trees as my much older parents had me remain inside. Safe. Protected. I was their only child and I was sheltered. My only escape came from music and books.
On my sixteenth birthday, my new license-in-hand, I was off and running. Embarrassingly enough, I got pulled over for a fix-it ticket. The officer chided me; noting it was my very first day of license-hood. But then his voice had grown soft; a parent himself. This privilege wields a lot of power and freedom. When you get behind that steering wheel, you have the control. Make good choices. And get your tail light fixed.
And since that day I have driven my life; full throttle, pedal-to-the- metal. Those who have ridden in my vehicle with me know; I have no problems asserting myself behind the wheel. I love the height and overview from my perch in my SUV. Music blaring, I drive through life fast and furious. I rarely look at my tail lights.
Recently I’m discovering the slow. Because of my kids I strive to be a good driver. I take longer to get to my destinations because the time spent in my car, with my family, generates great discussions. What better way to communicate and disseminate information than when my family is trapped in the confines of my car! I’ve even turned off my stereo so that all the voices can be heard.
Now my commute into work is leisurely. I don’t jockey to move into faster lanes of traffic and opt to stay in the slow lane; to go with the flow. I enjoy my music playlist, sans kids, before I reach the office. I check my tail lights. I worried that my time at work would detract from productivity at home; away from my sons. I am a mother. This is my first job.
But yesterday I grinned as I told my son, over the phone, how to use our rice cooker. Our nights are filled with concerts, meetings and programs and as I entered through our garage entry; the smells of food permeated my nostrils. My sons were proud to be able to contribute. Mom can no longer lord over them how much she does; each son picking up their slack and carrying their own weight. My job description has changed. Another anomaly.
The day each of my sons were placed in my arms I cried tears of joy. But I also silently weeped; how will I possibly ever let them go?
This is the phase I currently reside; the physical and mental process of letting them go. I don’t know all their friends nor every detail in their lives. The bedroom doors close as my boys crave privacy; independence. Boundaries. Instead of my sons leaning on my shoulders; I now lean on tip toe to reach theirs. There will be no physical evidence that marks me as their Mother. The only mark I have to claim is their hearts.
With the eldest I hovered; each step shadowed, questioning. With the middle, I walked confidently beside; surprised at the untraveled road he chose to walk. With the third, the trailblazer, I appreciated each son’s unique trails; realizing there was never one correct path. My world was ever changing and I learned to adapt to each child’s walk more quickly.
Each parent knows they can influence their children. But I never gave thought to how my children’s presence would influence me. In learning to adapt I have had to change my perspective; to grow.
I sit in the crowded gym, letting the echoing notes flow around me, through me. I quickly snap pictures and purposely set the camera upon my lap. I don’t want to live my life through a lens, either. I intently listen with big ears; amidst the cacophony of sound. I see the multitude of ages with my own eyes. I feel the hardness of the bench and the warmth of my youngest; leaning against me.
I cannot change where the shifting winds of life take me. I have stopped trying to fight it. Now, I grab the windbreaker and brace myself for the ride. When the storms roar through I’ll tie my hood and lean into the wind; bent over like a reed. I’ll feel the wetness upon my face, the salt upon my lips and dig in my heels. I will always stand for my beliefs and when my kids waver, I’ll hope they’ll return.
I’m ready to embrace all that life brings before me. I live. I ride. Arms wide open.