Just a week into the new school year and I am already thinking of the end…and the new beginning that lies beyond that. Nine months from today – 39 weeks – I will be preparing to launch my daughter – my only child – into the world. Commencement.
High School graduation is Friday, June 22. It’s already marked on my Google calendar. There seems to be something fitting about the fact that senior year is 40 weeks; reminiscent of another time not so long ago when she was first launched into the world.
It was a pregnancy that started in late summer 1999 and ended with her birth in April 2000. I recall subscribing to a “your baby this week” email that provided updates on the assumptive development of my unborn-child. The updated version of which I believe will be distributed at the High School’ s Senior Parents Night next month and discussed copiously in the Class of 2018 Parents Facebook group throughout the school year.
Every child is unique though and their development and progress, their own. A parent can only control so much (or maybe more accurately, so little). I decided from the start to look at child development and parenting much the same way I look at running races: only compare myself and my child to the people we were yesterday; compete only against ourselves.
The goal this year is to finish this race, while training for the next one. While I can utilize all my best coaching skills, the responsibility to put in the miles and follow the training plan will be exclusively hers. I’ll focus on my own goals; the things I can control.
My girl was born four weeks early. That was a good lesson for me in control. That’s when the informative e-mails became meaningless and I realized I was on my own. Nothing the High School will share or I’ll read in the parents groups or on the Grown & Flown website will provide me with a completely accurate picture of what will ultimately be our experience. I do suspect however, as hard as she might try, that graduation date will not be pushed up four weeks.
I’m glad I can at least count on that.
As much as I am ready for our new chapter, this is a school year I don’t want to rush. It is my goal to capture and preserve the memories, to cherish every simple moment, to have no regrets about what we’re leaving behind. I am committed this year more than ever to be mindful of time, to be flexible and open to deviations on the course, and to be present for her when she wants me to be. When she wants me to be.
I do so much better when there’s structure. I want to see it as a set training plan leading up to an event written in pen on the calendar. For me, that provides a much better metaphor for this last year in public school than the surprise party that was her birth, which left me scrambling and feeling unprepared.
But living in the present moment requires that I be less rigid in my planning. I want to find that perfect balance. Have a plan in place and be prepared, yet embrace the detours, be open to new possibilities, and accept that she has her own goals and vision for the future.
Plan in place, sights on the finish line, and one day at a time, I continue my training.
I completed my 40th Half Marathon on the 10th. Aside from the last two, very hilly, miles, that I had to take a little slower, I ran a nice strong, even pace and managed to pick up an Age Group award. Nice self-esteem boost for mom while my girl was off doing her own thing.
Ramsey, New Jersey. June 2017.
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