School ended Thursday. “Moving on” for a few of our kids. Abe leaving junior high for high school. Goldie shutting the doors on the elementary school she’s attended for the last seven years (which is the same thing as “forever” when you are 11).
Goldie followed in Abe’s footsteps by receiving the coveted Hope of America award (and its accompanying $25 cash). Daisy has since, in mock despair, sighed over being “the only one in our whole family” not to get the award, and each time Goldie absent mindedly assures her that, to us, she’ll always be the true hope of America.
It feels to me like we’ve lived in this home for such a small, drop-in-the-bucket period of time, that I can’t quite fathom how Goldie could possibly have lived out all of her elementary years here. Or how Jesse could have snuck so far past the newborn stage he was when we brought him to this home. (Or how we could have added not only Jesse, but three other entirely new people to our family since leaving WA.)
Mostly I can’t quite figure how Abe morphed from a nervous, little second grader to a savvy teen who drives and seems completely ready to start high school. Those three junior high years passed so quickly that I suppose that means these upcoming high school ones will too. And then? He’ll just be . . . expected to take on life fairly independently? Mission. College. Jobs. Marriage. It would seem impossible that we might expect those things from him in just three year’s time. Only . . . he handles things, and manages things, and figures things out in a manner that is so much more mature and self-confident than it was three years earlier that . . . who knows what he might be ready for in a bit more time!
Strangely I don’t feel panicked or “slow down time!” ish about it all. I feel more . . . surprised. Curious (I’m so interested in seeing what the future holds and how all these little people get from here . . . to there). And maybe even a little relieved. And grateful. I like that, despite my worries about how to raise all these people, life just keeps being lived and we just keep moving along.
Of course there are always things I will miss. Dear little stages and moments that are such perfection. Things I want to hold onto – just as they are – forever. I constantly hope, and actually have really come to believe, that all of our existence will just be utterly there and clear and present with us in some distant day beyond this life – and that, eventually, none of our experiences will really feel lost or beyond our reach.
But, in the mean time, it’s kind of like how I’ve come to feel about aging. I don’t long to go back or be younger again. I feel excitement and hope about moving along my life’s path. I feel more and more the same with raising these kids. It feels right, and I feel grateful that they do keep . . . learning and growing and morphing into something new again and again.
Of course maybe I’d feel a bit more anxious to stop time – stop these people from changing so quickly – if I didn’t always have several still at the stages that the older ones have left behind. It’s much easier to let Abe start taking on bits of adulthood when I still have a kid nervous to even think of Kindergarten. I’m OK letting Goldie head off from elementary, after all, her baby sisters will be there before too long.
But . . . I do feel happy to see where we are. I can’t explain this perfectly, but I sometimes get such anxiety over everything that needs done to raise a kid. I panic that I’ll teach something to the first three and forget to teach it to the last five. I stay awake at night fretting over EVERYTHING that will need to happen to get each of them independent and secure in living life and knowing who they are and not wavering in their convictions of truth. It’s comforting to see that . . . it just happens anyway. We just figure it out as we go and hope for room to fix the inevitable mistakes and for others to be placed in their paths to fill the holes I inadvertently neglected.