On Early Morning Silence, Long Walks, and Transitions
I love the silence of the early morning on the weekends. I've been waking up without an alarm at 6:30 even on the weekends lately. Jim and Emma won't be up for a couple of hours and everything is gloriously quiet, except for the wonderful sound of birds singing outside my window -- open to let the fresh, cool, Spring air in. Sometimes I sit outside in the garden where I can be with my flowers and feel the air on my skin. Other times like this morning I sit at my computer and write or read. In an hour I will head off to choir rehearsal at church and will enjoy singing and fellowship, but for now I'm loving this quiet time while I eat breakfast and sip my coffee. It's easy to take all of the natural beauty of where I live for granted. I was reminded of how very lucky we are to live in this place, so close to the Narragansett Bay. I took a 3 mile walk through the Alfred Drowne neighborhood on the historic registry that's right on the Bay, part of the walk was on Moussachuck Beach and then since it was low tide I was able to walk right along the coast to Allin's Cove beach at the end of Third Street. All this beauty is a mile+ walk away from my house. What could be better than walking along the water, with not another person in sight and listening to the sound of the waves and the sights of sail boats.
There has been so much going on lately that this little break in the action is welcome. Last weekend was Emma's big graduation weekend. We hosted a small gathering for family and some close friends that are local -- we missed those friends and family who've played an important role in Emma's life, but who live too far away to make it easy to make the trip for a weekend. I was touched that so many did make the long journey to be with us. I don't really like hosting groups larger than 6, but with lots of help from my friend Jen, my sister Kate and Jim I pulled it off. We had a gorgeous weather day for graduation -- even if it did get a bit chilly in my shady yard later in the evening. It was sunny and cool -- so the graduates didn't roast in their robes in the full sun. The ceremony was lovely and I was so proud to watch Emma walk across that stage after all of her hard work and diligence in High School, balancing school work, with lots of dancing and a social life as well as being active at church in Youth Group and teaching Sunday School.
I've had a big mix of emotions this week post graduation. Every now and then it hits me that I no longer have a child in school -- that she really is grown up and beginning the transition to her own life. With an only child everything is a first and a last all at the same time. There's no taking notes in order to do something better the next time, or with a younger sibling. This is it! Still -- I am trying not to be hard on myself and to just let the emotions come and go and not take them too seriously or make them more than they are. We are in a bit of a limbo land right now as Emma still has dance classes Monday-Thursday evenings and her final dance performance on June 23rd and 24th -- I think attending these is going to harder than graduation! She's been dancing since she was 3 and we've been attending end of year recitals since 2004! Emma's not sure how much dancing she wants to do in college so this could be her last performance -- but even if she does keep dancing it will be harder to get to her shows.
After her last performance Emma heads down to Snow Hill, Maryland to live with her Grandpa (my Dad) for several weeks and work at a camp at Furnace Town, a living history museum. It's four weeks of camp with a week off in between each. During the off weeks we are having a family vacation at my Mom's beach house in Stone Harbor, NJ over the 4th of July, then during the second off week she is going on a mission trip with other St. John's Episcopal Church Youth Group members to Belize to work at an Anglican Mission School there. The final off week is free and I may go down to Dad's and a few of her friends may visit her then. She's home on August 11th and then heads to college at Franklin and Marshall on August 21st when the next era really begins.
It's hard for me not to evaluate my entire life during periods of change like this but I am really trying to go with the flow and enjoy the ride and rest in the uncertainty and change -- not easy for me, but getting easier with age. I am going to try and break out of my comfort zone and reach out more to friends -- by actually talking to them on the phone or in person. Facebook and email are great, but I know that I need the actual synchronous connection that only talking live brings. Thanks to my extroverted and persistent friend Lynne for repeatedly calling me until we connected, talked for over an hour on the phone, and I was reminded that I need that sort of connection! I'm also going to try and invite people to do things more often rather than holing up at home every weekend. It's so hard when you are an Introvert working at a stressful job (not because the work is stressful -- it's the toxic boss that's the problem). I often need the whole weekend to recover from the work week! Anyway. Here's to what's next and to the strength and grace to face it well. With enough early morning quiet time, and some long walks by the Bay. I should be able to handle it.