Slice of Life Friday: Rites of Passage

MP900384718Happy Summer, everyone!

I’m currently working in my summer office…on my patio, my laptop attached to an extension cord, and a nice cup of coffee by my side…and my dog on my lap. (My dog is VERY happy.)  Birds are tweeting, gentle wind is blowing, and the skeeters aren’t hungry at all. THIS is what summer is all about.

And you can’t help but be in a relaxed and wondrous summery mood when you start off the day with a long lazy walk, and there are even teeny rabbits watching you as you pass. Sigh.

This summer I’m looking forward to catching fireflies, discovering more original recipes to test out on our ancient charcoal grill, being dreamy and diving into writing a novel I’ve got swarming around my head, and daytripping to the Jersey shore, too.

Summers seem to buzz by so fast, and I fear this summer will absolutely fly – cuz, drum roll please, my youngest child is going off to college in August. Zowie, how did that happen so quickly?  (Break into the chorus of Sunrise/Sunset everyone…)

Two days ago, she graduated from high school, and I sat on the bleachers with the sun blazing in my eyes (not complaining…are you kidding? Those reflective sunglasses meant no one could see any tearful moments).  And like any rite of passage in life, it felt surreal.  You can’t help but say to yourself, am I really watching my baby graduate? Add it to the list… Did I really graduate from college? Just get married? Am I really holding my own child in my arms? Did this dear person really just pass away? Is that really my book on the shelf?

Rites of passage force you to stop and take notice. To reflect on what happened up to that point, and how things will be different in the future. To appreciate things. To be grateful. I’m one of those people who try to do these things on a daily basis anyway, but even for me, it can still hit home pretty strongly.  Even when you think you’ve got it all sorted in your brain.

A few days before graduation, I was in the basement cleaning out a ton of stuff. Sleeves rolled up, I was excited to get rid of crap and tidy things up. Totally ready to tackles those piles on all those basement shelves. A smashed box of Twister. A bunch of moldy Halloween costumes. A humongous stash of crayons. I was on a true roll.  The dumpster was filling up.  Barbie clothes. My little pony gear. More games. A nasty old baby doll.  Then I found a tiny little art smock, and I stopped. My throat closed and it really hit me.

Beach Chairs Watching OceanThe palpable end of childhood and my job as the mom of youngsters.  I’ll always be a mom, of course, but it’ll never be the same.  And the weight of promise ahead is overwhelming in its own way.  The wonderfulness my daughters now have ahead of them, the exciting opportunities and the pure fun. Wow, what a flood of emotion.

I decided to keep the little art smock.

And I’ve vowed to continue to treasure every moment.

Summer is fleeting, so be sure to make your own time slow down and to savor every bit of it.