The first day of school, I couldn't even come home - spent the entire day out and about so I wouldn't have to face an empty house. Enjoyed a morning hike with Lucy to one of my favorite spots (pic at left - Dog Lake / Millcreek Canyon), and then babysat my nephew for a few hours.
The panic and tears didn't begin until the next day when the quiet of the house and the realization that we only have a year with Ryan before he's off to college, hit home and hit hard.
I should have known it was coming . . . throughout the summer when I would least expect it, BAM, the tears would start, and before I knew it I couldn't stop. Something as simple as a song would usually begin the deluge (Jason Mraz's "93 Million Miles" does it every time, and just last week it was U2's "Walk On"). After closer reflection, it's not the fact that school as started again and the house is empty and I'm missing the energy and chaos of the kids, which is all true. But it's that this season, the transition from summer into fall, and the myriads of changes that are taking place signify something much grander than going back to school. It's the passage of time. I am mourning the passing of another year my kids have grown and matured, and another year closer to them leaving home.
The Zen proverb, "Let go or be dragged" speaks volumes about letting go of permanence and allowing change into our lives. I have to let go of my children and some point, but I'm going to be present for them now and really listen and open my heart to them while they are in my orbit. Letting go of attachments and not fighting change is central to Zen awareness and it's so difficult for me, but I'm getting better. I'm learning that anything we hold onto only drags us away from truly feeling at peace. As hard as it is to let go of children, of resentment, the need to be right, expectations, and even past friendships that were once crucial to my happiness, holding on will never lead to the peace and serenity necessary to enjoy the present.
Enough of Zen, but I have to say it's really helped (along with yoga, reading "Gilead" yet again, and hiking a few times each week). Friday morning after I dropped the girls off at school, the sun was rising in the east over the Olympus mountain range and Simon & Garfunkle's Bridge Over Troubled Water was playing (gotta say that the "Essential S& G" is definitely the best music for life's transitions). As my car filled with brilliant September light, I knew everything would be alright. Life will continue to march forward and I'll keep moving along, trying to stay with the beat without looking back and getting trampled in the process.