a long goodbye

These three went back to school today.  We realized that a good way to make our summer seem longer is to live somewhere that starts school two weeks later than most of our friends.  It sure seems to stretch out the long summer days.
Today started what I have decided is a very long goodbye.
Letting go of my kids.
I have felt like I was letting them go for years now, since I sent my little Luke off to kindergarten.  I let a lot of rope slip out of my hands today as I sent Isabel off on her last first day of school.  The last year of school that any of my kids will be at the same school.
A growing shorter string of lasts ahead of us.
Last football games, last dances, last swim practices, last of the silly high school blow off classes…a long goodbye to high school.  Which leads to a long goodbye to childhood really.  We say goodbye every single day that we have with these kids, because we can’t get them back.  Our days just seem numbered here on out.
12th, 10th and 7th grade will fly by this year.  Luke will find new freedoms this year as he starts junior high and will become an official teenager.  Max will have to adjust to not having headphones in his ears non stop and will slip away a little more when he gets his drivers license this year.  And Isabel will wrap up her high school years with a tidy brown and gold Davis high bow and move on to greener pastures filled with jobs and budgets and big adult decisions.  Big decisions that don’t always include moms and dads.
We’re one step closer and said a few more little goodbyes today…but will holding on to these goodbyes with everything we have.


A year and a dozen days ago we climbed out of our overpacked vehicles, stretched our legs and wiped the tears from our eyes, and started a new life.  Well, we cried some more tears as the weeks and months unfolded…and a few more as our old life faded further from our rearview mirrors.  
It seems to have taken a year to fully awaken from a zombie like slumber as we transitioned.  The first snow fell and we grew accustomed to wearing sweaters and closed toed shoes.  We said goodbye to Jim and Paula and a little more reality set it.  
I may finally feel like I am in a place to share a few more pieces of my heart again.  I held them close for the last 12 months because I felt so unstable that if I let a little piece out into the world I may not have enough to sustain me.  I have smiled and laughed and set goals and repeated affirmations and worked, worked, worked the last year to hold my head up.  To not feel broken.  
I have fought.  And I have realized some things about myself along the way.  
“I used to feel like happiness was somewhat of a shallow emotion.  Something felt by the un-examined heart that had not yet reached deep into the soul to grasp a fistful of sadness at the center of life.  Granted, I am a product of the grunge filled nineties, a broody middle child who loved creative writing classes.  Still, a narrow minded viewpoint to have claimed no matter the age or naivety.  I have since tried many flavors of happiness, and I may not be an everyday vanilla kind of happy but I certainly enjoy a regular doses of the double dark chocolate raspberry kind of joy.”  
I want to get in the face of the heavy things that come my way and stare them down.  I need to know what I’m facing and feel the complete weight of life along with the bright rays of sunshine and positive affirmations of happier days ahead. 
My emotions don’t define me, my future, or my character.  Sometimes I feel depressed, that doesn’t mean I am depressed. Or negative.  OR weak.  Emotions are how I feel.  Not who I am.   
I am strong and whole and happy.  Even if there are days where it is harder to feel those things.