At Once


Perhaps I make too much of it, but our oldest is departing childhood tomorrow when he walks out of that school at noon. As some have pointed out, fifth grade truly was graduation for many of the generations before us. This perspective, I confess, does aid the appreciation of the “privilege” of Middle School. We are propelled into a new stage. Dread does not prohibit nor reverse this movement. Our parenting must evolve as we help our boy become a man. We feel the shift. We witness his tension as he holds on to the ever slipping ideals of childhood and embraces the challenges of the world as it is and as we are. The truth is, this journey grows all of us, the labor, the highs and lows, and I am feeling the transition right now.

The pathway to June in my brain is a familiar one as a teacher. It is a bit of a climax and yet tends to feel slightly anti-climactic because how can the investment in lives really be understood? Or overstood? So it is all the feels. The anticipation and relief, the hope and the disappointment, the happiness and the sadness for it is an ending as well as a beginning (summer is here!).

I did not even know how excruciating transition could be until this same boy-man as a baby inched closer to his birth almost twelve years ago. A mother can at once feel the genesis and revelation. The death and resurrection. The opening and closing.

I might as well say it: this life we live is transition. It is the between of what has been and what will be. And because I struggle to hold this tension, I get caught looking down at my feet — step, step, step –forgetting to see, and so can be startled at the beauty we can behold in the now when looking for it. This is why I must continue the practice of gratitude, it is the gate to seeing. This is the way of abiding when we do not know what to do, but our hearts burn within, pulling us to the Truth of it all: GOD WITH US. Now.

Breath.

After breath.

After breath.

Can we teach him this?
Transition is my teacher. Two seemingly opposing realities take up space at the same time: celebrating the new and mourning the old — joy and sorrow — at once. This liminality births surrender. So much of living is about dying, as it is our undoing that remakes us, and so much of choosing is letting go.

I am paradox.

I am an intersection.

I am a cross.

When the tears trace my cheeks on the trails of those before, they are the heart’s overflow, as she whispers truths the lips fail to utter — press in to the “now” to unwrap the “more.”

It is all here.

At once.