Back to school. What does that look like for you? For me, that means a time to pause and reflect. After the lazy, unstructured days of summer, it means getting back to a routine, taking time out for myself and my girlfriends. It means transitioning to a new season–pulling on my favorite boots and a cozy sweater, reaching for a scarf more often.
I’ve always felt a little nostalgia that summer’s almost over. But this year’s especially bittersweet. My youngest graduated high school and is heading off on a gap year, just like his brother did two years ago. After 20 years of raising two boys, they’re both spreading their wings and moving on to the next phase in their lives, leaving me feeling unsettled.
One of the little things I’m going to miss is the annual ritual of back-to-school shopping. They each got to pick out a few pair of pants, a couple of long-sleeve shirts, et cetera, so they had to be thoughtful about their choices. It brings a smile to my face to think about sitting on the dressing room floor, waiting for them to come out to show me what they’d chosen.
It feels good to chat with you guys. Some of you are ahead of me in this mothering adventure, some of you are behind me. What’s it going to look like now? I’m happy-sad. I’m excited for them but at the same time very aware that life is about to change dramatically. No one really tells you that after 18 years of raising your babies, one day they’re going to leave, leaving you with a deep maternal sense of loss. When Scout left, it brought me to my knees. I felt like a mama wolf when it was time to kick her pups out of the den. (Aaliyah, one of our employees in the Boulder store, overheard me talking about this. She told me her mom said it was like her heart grew arms and legs and wandered off.)
Now Bubb, my youngest, is leaving in a few weeks and I’m not sure how I’ll feel. (Stay tuned–I’ll let you know.) What I do know is that I have to acknowledge the unsettled feelings–to really let myself feel the sadness–before I can let those feelings go. And at the same time I’m very excited for this next chapter, both in their lives and in mine.
I’d love to hear from you about what motherhood or sending your kids off feels like for you. I want this blog to be a chat between girlfriends, where we can share those nuggets of wisdom we’ve learned along life’s path. So join the conversation, share your story!
Until next time…. Shine bright.