Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In A Life To Come


Here it is May. The hummingbirds have returned to the mountains of Colorado, my tulips came up, and the aspen trees are getting buds. Ah, spring.

Well, at 8000 feet, the season is a bit misleading, if not completely MIA. The hummingbird feeders are frozen solid in the morning, and there’s still potential to use our sleds. But nonetheless, as Alexander Pope sagely said, “hope springs eternal”. Summer will arrive. Soon I’ll dust off my bike and kayak. It all happens, completely non-contingent upon my will or desire.

This May is riddled with all kinds of changes for me that make the presence of icicles almost a non-concern. My daughter—my baby—graduates from high school this coming weekend. When and how in the world did this happen? I still picture her toddling around, trying to wear her Mr. Potato Head glasses.

Last night, her father and I went to her final choir concert. Singing is her passion, and choir has been her joy for four years. It was a bitter-sweet event. As is the tradition in our small high school, seniors can elect to perform a solo. For several weeks now, we’ve listened to her practice a song and play her guitar in preparation for her performance. She sang beautifully last night, without a hitch, and to the hoots and hollers of her classmates. In August, she’ll leave for college. In Indiana. Why so far away?

Not only is my baby bird flying away soon, but my son—the one who has been living at home for the last year during his cancer treatments—has received the green light to get on with his life too. At 23, he is more than ready for his independence. With the effects of chemo fading into a not-so-pleasant but distant memory, he’s looking forward, too. He recently asked his girlfriend to marry him (she said yes!) and they’re making plans to move to Florida where he’ll start grad school. And this all happens in two, short weeks—just another change to chalk up to May. 

He’s even going to take his gargantuan puppy with him. At a very hairy and shedding 80 pounds (the puppy, not my son), this may be the one change I’m not dreading. But the house will be very quiet soon, and the rooms very empty.



No matter how I drag my feet, life goes on. Seasons change. The landscape morphs. Trees will be in full leaf soon. The earth keeps rotating. I will turn 50 and enter the fall season of my life, just about the same time the aspen trees light up the mountains in a golden blaze.

Change is inevitable.

Besides sometimes jarring our status quo, here’s what else I’m learning about change: It may not always be easy or desired, but it happens despite our dragging feet. And it’s good. So even though I’ll be saying goodbye to an awful lot—my kids and my forties—I can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon for a new season in life.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man






32 comments:

  1. Season after season, God is faithful! You have so much to anticipate --- look how far He's brought you, and you already know He's not letting go! Have a day of joy, Julie. Life is new every day. Sending a hug over cyberspace.

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    1. Thanks, Mary Ann. Sometimes life just offers up an opportunity to pause and reflect. :)

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  2. This is a wonderful post -- with much I can relate to (as we've talked about and no doubt will again). I'm not always graceful with the transtions which I've found are both jarring... and good... that's what I've learned but still often struggle with. Btw, my daughter also used to try to wear the Potato Head glasses!! :) Have many a cute pic. Love from your partner in change.

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    1. Julia-- this response warmed my heart. When (if?) we ever get together, let's show each other photos of our daughters in Potato Head glasses and have a good weeping over some wine.

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  3. Hi Julie Is your birthday soon? Happy Birthday! Don't you get the feeling that time is accelerating as we age? Change is the only thing that is constant, it is inevitable. It can be daunting when I think that I have not gotten far in seeing more of the world and read all those books etc. It is great that you are doing something you have always wanted to do. Keep writing Cheers !!

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    1. Thanks for the note. The birthday is a few, short months away. I do hope to start pursuing a few "bucket list" items in the coming years! :)

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  4. You'll have more reason to visit FL now!

    maybe we'll get a hike in together yet :)

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    1. Mac, I'd love that. I have several good reasons to head to the sunshine state!

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  5. Aww...change....I can't wait to see what the future holds for your wonderful kiddos and I can't wait to see how you embrace the wonderfullness ( it's a word) of your 50's!! And I look forward to seeing you in FL more often!!

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    1. Now... if I can just win that lottery so I can buy the airline tickets! I'd love to get down more than I have. The path keeps going forward, I'll see where it leads.

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  6. The empty nest will feel strange for a bit. And then it won't. Life is good that way.

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    1. And there are new good things to look forward to. :)

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  7. All wonderful news, Julie. So true that change comes whether we want it to or not, whether we're ready or not at all. It's so valuable because we get to stop and "really" see how things are and consider any part that we may have taken for granted. Congrats on two happy and healthy kids. Their futures look so bright, and that says a lot about your parenting. :)

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    1. Some changes we have to forge ahead with, even in the face of fear-- but they can have some great results too!

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  8. I can relate to so much of this post, Julie. My son graduates high school next week, and 50 is just a few short months away. It's been a busy time for you, one I know must have brought many mixed emotions, fears and adjustments. You and your family have been through a lot. Change is good, and good things usually come from it. It's like the frozen bird feeder that melts by afternoon. As much as things change, so much still stays the same. The journey never really ends, it just takes us to different places, some that are breathtaking and some that take our breath away.

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    1. Oh you sure can relate-- in the same place! There are good things ahead for both of us.

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  9. Congratulations on your daughter's graduation, and your son's engagement! I'm sorry that they'll be living so far away though. The good news is that you'll have a great excuse to warm up in Florida. I'm sure you'll get to see your daughter fairly often too, and she's going to a wonderful college! I think turning 50 was easier than 40. You look fabulous Julie, and you might not mind some of the perks of being an empty nester!

    Julie

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    1. I'm actually looking forward to turning 50; fortunately I still feel really good (and you know the old saying, consider the alternative!). It's all the stuff happening that will be an adjustment. It's all good. :)

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  10. So many wonderful events! Congrats to you and your lovely family, Julie. That's a lot of changes for one mama to handle in such a short period. I wish the very best for your kids and hope that you and hubby will settle in and truly enjoy your empty nest.

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    1. Yesss-- so much going on. Thanks, Reese.

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  11. My parents did not want me to ever leave their nest, and it left some very deep emotional scars upon me. Your children should greatly appreciate how well you are handling their flight plans.

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  12. My goodness, that is a lot of changes. Your house will be quieter, and that will be good for your writing. When one door closes, another opens. . .

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    1. I firmly believe this as well, Margo.

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  13. My goodness, it sounds like you're had the full gamut of experiences. I've got a one-year-old, and it is lovely, but sometimes the thought of having the house to myself occasionally sounds very appealing:) In every change of circumstance, there is certainly opportunity.

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    1. Mark, yes-- there is that welcoming of solitude too! I am aware of that aspect. And I remember those busy (and fun!!) toddler stages. :)

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  14. This is such a beautiful post! Thanks so much for writing this.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  15. I truly can't express how happy I am to hear that your son's cancer is in remission and that he's going to be able to go out and live his life. My wife has dedicated her life to treating and fighting cancer, and we've come to cherish the good stories. I'll pass this one along to her for sure. :)

    What a time of change in your household! Just a doorway to many new adventures, I hope. :)

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement E.J. Fortunately, his was very curable from the onset, but the process sure sucked. It's good to see him looking forward in life again.

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  16. A lot of big changes for you. But I'm really happy to hear your son is doing well.

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  17. Wow, the end of raising children and the new chapter of sitting back and watching the great things they will do as an adult :) There are days still that I am sad that my house is empty and I sort of miss the craziness of making sure the uniforms were clean and getting to places on time! Overall this is not only the next chapter of life for them, but you too!!! Enjoy :)

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