to new beginnings, for us all

It's just birthdays and milestones over here.

Summer went by in a blink. Why must summer do that?

My baby starts kindergarten next week and while I am certainly reflective and emotional inwardly, it is hard to be sad when I see how excited and ready he is to go off and be a big kid.

He grew so much this summer at camp and he tried new things that made him scared. Connor is a boy who goes at his own pace, there is no sense in pushing him along. He will do things when he is ready and only then. Now, he seems to be more willing to put himself out there, to take risks, to do the hard things. It is absolutely wonderful to witness. Humbling too.

Caroline begins third grade on Wednesday. I remember being a third grader, sitting in Mrs. Conboy's classroom, learning about fractions, writing in cursive. It is clear to me that things we do now she will always have clear memories of. She will remember the things she did this summer and I will keep an image of her diving through waves confidently and alone while I sat on the shore and observed. I am not always a participant in her story now, I'm moving towards being the supportive cheerleader, the one watching but not interfering. It's a transition, but she still snuggles up to me and calls me Mama, so I won't start weeping over it yet.

We worked hard this summer to keep her math skills moving in the right direction and to keep her confidence up. I can still remember sitting in Las Vegas probably at her age, wearing my bathing suit, hair in a ponytail, ready to hit the pool and getting a reminder from my mother that there would be no pool until I completed the worksheet in the book she had brought along. My memory of my attitude; PAINFUL. She had the right idea though didn't she. Academics before fun, everything in moderation, keep those skills, don't backslide. I may not have executed it in the same way, but I really did try this summer to keep the momentum going.

and what of me?

I closed a giant chapter in my life last Friday when I turned in my hospice tablet, phone, and badge. I got walked out the door by my supervisor and I didn't even turn to look back. I start work this week in a local school system in a First Grade classroom as a Special Education Assistant.

I know.

It's a gigantic leap. It's anxiety inducing makes me want to vomit sometimes insane. It's wonderful. It feels intentional, balanced, exciting even. It makes me hungry to learn again. It also already helped me to take a step back and think about how to best support my daughter with her math.

Instead of, "how do you not just know that 9+2 is 11?" she now gets a reminder from me to pause, use her strategies, remind herself that she can do this, and poof. It's not magical. It's just perspective. This new job is going to benefit me 100 times over, but she may benefit even more. I have been observing her through fresh eyes and it's been such a lovely thing to witness.

It's a brand new beginning.