When September days arrived this past school year, I again faced the reality that I was staring down the homestretch with my precious second oldest.
As when my very Oldest was in Grade 12, my only son, it was again, a bittersweet milestone to be reached. I (as mama) was so proud and so grateful and so darn happy for her, as I was for him: the opportunities, the challenges, the events, the finish line all in store; while at the same time, on the verge of tears whenever I quietly took stock of the moments slipping from my hand, like grains of sand at the shore.
You realize, as a mom, at one and the same time, that these are, of course, “the best days of our lives” while also being the hardest ones, too, due to what you know is coming.
Separation. Change. Growing up.
As they tend to do, the school year passed in record speed. My daughter attended high school and was voted in as Grade 12 rep. She took part in a national Leadership conference. She played soccer, participated in Student Council and attended Youth Parliament. She joined the weight-lifting team.
And all the while, life got busier and busier. For all of us.
One night, while walking our little road here in Mill River, Husband and I reminded ourselves that this was again another ‘last year’. And that it was quickly slipping away.
Saddened, I tried to think how we could slow down time. But how could it be done? There was so much to do with work, extracurriculars, church commitments, family, course work and just plain life.
In short, there was seemingly no solution for the predicament we were in. Caught in a rat race, we just had to keep running or risk being trampled by missed deadlines and failed opportunities to maximize productivity.
It was, sad, really.
This is not to say we did not notice our children. Not to indicate that we did not parent them, either. Of course we did.
It is just to say that we felt robbed. Of time. Quality time,
Such a precious, precious commodity.
Fast forward to almost two weeks ago. One of the things I was most looking forward to about our March Break was ‘time’, uninterrupted, to spend with my kids. I kept telling myself “if I can just get to the finish line, it will all be worthwhile.”
And we all know now, that upon arriving at that finish line on March 13th, these plans were not to be.
It was hard to not be disappointed, in the moment.
Hard to not feel jyped.
But God knows our hearts better than we even know them, ourselves.
While I traded in a vacation to Florida, and some well-earned time spent with my sweet family, what I got in return was something worth more to me.
Over the past days of social isolation and distancing, we have lingered over family meals, discussing so many important, worthwhile topics. We have prepared food together, taken quizzes about our political leanings, gone for walks, sat on our deck, played oodles of games, enjoyed “virtual church” together, and just in general, spent time together that has meant more to me than that one week might have, had we ended up at our sunny destination.
Sure, this wasn’t the plan. Wasn’t Plan A. And a few months ago, had someone told me I would be cooped up with my family, virtually quarantined in our house, I would have booked the first flight out. To any destination.
Not even kidding.
But this, this Plan B, this opportunity to be together: it has been something I never dreamed it could be. In fact, it has given me a gift.
A little miracle.
I hate to say this, as it comes at the expense of the health of our province and nation, (and I pray for the healing of our world right now), but being home with my family? It is gold.
I find as the days go by, rather than growing more apart, we are growing closer together. We have to! For ‘we’ are all ‘we’ve’ got! But in relying more on each other for relationship and connection, it has deepened the bonds that were already there.
We just never had time to appreciate the gift.