My son is starting high school in the fall and his church group moves up to a new time beginning this summer. In order to keep parents apprised about the new church service for young adults, the leaders held a meeting for parents to let us in on the details. Eager parents like my husband and I were ushered into an auditorium where we heard what we all knew but didn’t want to acknowledge: in four years, our kids would be gone.
Now, I’m no fool. I know my son will be leaving the nest at the end of high school. His comfortable nest here at home will become what I like to call the safety net of college—a time when he’ll be responsible for making adult decisions with the benefit of his parents (the safety net) for backup. I believe without question that kids learn more about personal and social responsibility during college than they do in the eighteen years they lived at home with their parents. I know I did. I wouldn’t feel settled about sending him into the big, bad world without having experienced those four years with the safety net.
Even knowing that in four years he’s gone, I got tears in my eyes when some hip, young stranger spoke the words out loud. My exclusive time with him is narrowing to a time in the future I can actually visualize. I remember when he was born and woke up every two to three hours and I thought I’d never have another second to myself—ever! These days I can barely get his attention
I’m a writer and I embarked on this career when my daughter, my youngest, went off to kindergarten. I’ve loved every second of the time I’ve spent weaving tales for my enjoyment and now for the enjoyment of others. This writing thing takes time, lots and lots of time. I keep looking into the future and seeing nothing but time in front of me when my kids will be grown and out on their own. I’m trying to find a nice balance between this career that I love and spending as much time with the children I love more than anything. Balance isn’t easy.
I know everyone who reads this isn’t a writer, but everyone has things that pull them away from their families, things they do for themselves that make them feel good, but also feel guilty. If you’ve been able to find a nice balance with the things you have in your life, I’d love to hear how you did it. If you’re like me, struggling to find that balance, let me know I’m not alone—like I will be in six years when my daughter graduates and it’s just me and my husband and these stories bouncing around my head.
I recently marked my calendar through the end of the year with the dates for my blog posts. I’m a pretty responsible person, but I’m also human, so the possibility of my forgetting to blog is very real.
When I marked my calendar for blog posts in 2012, I never imagined how life would change for me this year because of the unexpected death of my father. I knew he would go before my mother because he had congestive heart failure and diabetes, not a good combination for anyone. He’d been feeling poorly the last few months and never looked like he felt good, but he went to the doctor and was never admitted to the hospital. Nevertheless, the phone call from my mom rocked me to the core.
I had a difficult relationship with my dad, one that never came easy to either of us. I can admit now that most of the reason for this is because we were so much alike. Scary! I had lots of things I wanted to say to him, none of them easy. All of those words died on my tongue when he died. That is my fault and I will learn my lesson about waiting for another day.
At church today (I’m writing this on Sunday), our wonderful preacher talked about goals for the year and committing yourself to doing the one thing that is most important. That one thing is different for everyone and is usually a very difficult thing. If were easy, he said, we would have done it already. If my dad were still alive, I feel pretty certain that talking to him and trying to mend our relationship would have been my one thing. But I don’t get to go back and change things, so I have to come up with another one thing.
My one thing is for me to know—I’m not going to get too personal and vomit my deepest desires on this public blog. But I thought the message was a good one. We all have demons that haunt us that are generally easy to put off doing anything about. Notice the pattern—putting things off is easy while confronting them is hard.
At this point in the year, when the calendar is open and most of the pages are empty, think about the one thing you want to do this year. I don’t mean goals or accomplishments, but the one thing that if the year goes by without doing it, your life could change forever.
You don’t have to tell me what your one thing is; I’m not telling mine, but know that I’m rooting for you every day of 2012!