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I'm sitting here with a warm cup of Earl Grey in my hands, watching the curly wisps of steam make their way into the air. Looking out my window, I can see the dawn just beginning to illuminate the sky over the rooftops of my neighbors' houses across the street. Dawn is breaking, both literally and figuratively.
Today, Summer break is over for Nature Girl. She leaves elementary school behind as she starts her first day of middle school. We recently went to the store to purchase school supplies and a couple of new outfits, and I watched her in awe and pride as her unique personality shone through in all of her decisions. For various reasons best unsaid, I've worried about her and watched over her more carefully than her brother. Maybe this is why I'm having a hard time letting go. Maybe it's because she's the younger of my two children. She's my baby, and she's growing up. She's not really a baby anymore.
Just as Nature Girl heads off into a new phase of her life, so too does The Teen. Thursday night my Dad arrives in town and Friday we will pack up our cars and drive him the hour away to college. We will get him settled and drive back home, leaving him to start walking the path of adulthood. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. As much as I am ready for this...I'm not really ready for this. He spent the night at a friend's house last night, and as I walked past his open door this morning and peered into his empty, darkened room, I thought, "So, this is what it will be like every day." I closed the door before walking away.
It's not just my kids who are going through changes. The dust has settled on the chaos that was the first half of the year, and generally, I'm feeling calmer, more focused, and on top of things. As far as my day job is concerned, though, I've been feeling dissatisfied. I have outgrown the position and don't make much money, so I'm determined to find a better one and improve my lot in life. However, I like the university where I work and don't want to leave it. I have a good work environment, and the benefits are great, so I've decided to start looking at internal positions. I've applied for one that I'm really interested in, and I'm hoping that I can at least get an interview.
As I reflect on the here and now, I'm also thinking about the future. Not a decade down the road, mind you, but more like six months or so. I realize with absolute clarity that there are other things in my life that will need to change if I want to accomplish the things I've set out to do. Just as I've outgrown my position at work, so too have I outgrown certain things in my life. It's normal for this to happen. We all grow and change throughout the course of our lives. The way things are now will not always be the way things will remain. Look at the place where you grew up, and I guarantee that you can tell me about how different it is now compared to how it was then.
Life is meant to change, and we need to change with it. We will never grow or evolve if we don't. My kids are both growing and evolving, and I stand in wonder as I watch. They're not alone, as I'm growing and evolving as well. Our paths are intertwined, but they're different. Each one of us has our own emotions as we move forward but I can only speak for mine. I'm excited for what lies ahead and am optimistic about the future. If I were to be completely honest with you, I would admit that I was a little bit afraid, and that's okay.
Regardless of what happens, I am ready.
I have to be.