We are already a full month into it. So many feelings about heading into this new year.
My time on blogger used to include the liveliness of multiple conversations with blogging friends all over the world who had either gone through or were going through some of the same stages of life. Since most of us have resorted to Facebook for maintaining our interactions, blogger is now morphing into a sort of canvas of words for me. Someplace to not necessarily share with someone as much as for someone. Namely, me.
So I suppose I can use this platform to set out and sort out some of the thoughts, struggles, and sentiments I have going on inside without concern for whether it's something someone else would want to read.
And that's a little freeing for me right now.
This year is bringing so many changes for us, for me, that I almost can't fathom it.
I see these changes staring me in the face, much like a dark, impending storm on the horizon. It's still sunny where I am, but the darkness is coming. I can feel the cool wind of change blowing my hair out of my eyes and causing me to sigh deeply.
The feelings I get from gazing into a storm like that are very similar to what is going on inside me now.
Generally, I love storms. When we lived in Texas, it was impossible to miss the inky thunderhead approaching. You could hear the faint sound of thunder rolling across the sky, a subtle but distinct rumble that causes nervous kids to think of celestial bowling. The peculiar color of the clouds would excite the eyes as you instinctively sensed the energy behind it. These disturbances come upon us much more as a surprise here in Georgia, as they hide themselves behind the hills and trees until they are overhead.
But growing up, you could see it coming. From a level horizon, you could smell it, sense it in the air while it was still miles away. You could see the monstrosity of it before the danger was really present. And it was thrilling.
That's where I am at the beginning of February of this year.
Most of my impending storm is centered around my oldest child. I hesitate to say child because he will be 18 on his birthday this year.
Future me: go back and read that last sentence again.
The boy will be able to vote this year.
He'll be a senior this year.
Lord willing, he'll be taking some of his classes at the local college this year to go toward his high school diploma plus college credit. Not to mention driving himself to said classes a few times per week.
Now, I realize that there are millions who graduate each year in the U.S., and there are mommas with each of them going through the same feelings. But hear me out.
I recall sitting at our school table in his first grade year, with his baby brother playing at my feet. I still see his little face focused on the coloring page before him, going through blend letter flashcards, and singing "Old McDonald" with vowel sounds. I treasure the first time he read a full story to me all by himself. I remember he would do his "seat work" with one foot on top of mine, as if to say, "Don't leave, momma. I need you here."
I think about third grade, when he worked so hard to memorize his multiplication tables before the end of the school year, and then promptly forgot 80% of them over the summer. We never took another full summer off after that. It was Christmas before he had them down again.
I snicker thinking about the poem he wrote for language arts when he was in the fifth grade. Despite his age, he still hasn't let go of his Star Wars fixation. He's only added Doctor Who and Minecraft to it. And guitar and photography. *sigh*
He's not a kid anymore. Sure, he's still my kid, as he'll always be. But he's almost a grown kid. And he's my first one. I'm just trying to process all the changes coming ahead.
We've got SATs, graduation, and college applications looming. We'll be finding a photographer and a professional printer this year for invitations and parties. Soon afterward, we'll participate in a meaningful graduation ceremony at our co-op with speakers and cake and punch, with a table decorated just for him for his friends and family to congratulate him and hug his momma.
cool wind, smell of rain
My involvement in his education has abated over his high school years, but after next year, I will have no place in his education. None. No input in his curricula, no choices in literature, no knowledge of his discussions in classes. Aside from asking how he's doing and seeing grades at the end of each semester, I will be completely severed from his education.
cold sprinkles on my face, thunder rolls
Grappling with purchasing the best language arts curriculum or whether or not we should change math strategies seem so ridiculously shallow to me now in light of this encroaching tempest. But I suppose that in a few more years, even my now unsettled heart will seem minuscule. Compared to, you know, wedding invitations and rehearsal dinner.
Here's what I know about storms: they are indeed ominous when they are approaching, and they can in fact be very dangerous. As if that weren't enough, it is impossible to see beyond or around them until they pass. One never knows what her world will look like beyond the storm.
But with their demonstration of power and might, I know the storms are necessary. They are beneficial. And they will pass. And after the dazzling display of waltzing clouds, electric flashes, and thunderous applause, the sun will shine again and the fields will dry, and there will be peace both within the storm and after it.
Lord, help me to not forget that You are with me. You see what's in my heart, You know what's on my mind, and You care. Infinitely.