Friday, May 25, 2012

Working myself out of a job

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Yesterday, I attended a volunteer tea at my daughter’s elementary school. It was the last chance since she will graduate sixth grade next week. I’d been once before and skipped a few years. However, this time, I wanted to savor the last invitation.

It was a journey down memory lane: a very emotional one. I knew practically none of the mothers or kids as they were  younger than I or my daughters. Even the faces of many of the teachers have changed in the nine years we’ve part of this warm and receptive community.

So, I deposited myself in the midst of some more youthful women, including one with a toddler attached to her hip, and announced: “since I know no one, I thought I’d meet you today.” They were very gracious and we traded ages and grades of our children.

There were delicious snacks, a round of official thank-yous and then some magnificent performances by primary students, capped off with fifth-and-sixth-grade jugglers. The kids were darling and enjoyed performing. It seemed very informal and they felt no pressure. I loved the first-graders doing something called the “Tooty-Ta” song. I giggled and my heart smiled.  I had not thought about this crazy multi-verse song where kids end up with the tushies extended, knees bent in, feet and elbows out, eyes closed and tongues wagging in years. It was hilarious and reminded me of when my eighth grader would do that in pre-school.

Then, it hit. The fact that I am in such a different stage of life right now, especially with my children. They will enter junior high and high school respectively next fall and it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame from elementary. Not one I am necessarily not looking forward to. They really are becoming more of themselves and I relish these regular discoveries … sans the door slamming, pouting and eye rolls.

It’s such a far cry from when they needed constant supervision; now, sometimes, it’s hard to find them at home and with a chunk of time to chat.

I also find myself branching out into ministry and vocation because I do have a bit more time; no pudgy fingers grasping at my thighs.

Yesterday, I wasn’t contemplating the change, though, but lingering, even basking, in the joy of what has already unfolded. I am grateful for the gift of growing children.

Please remind me of that mid-summer when I am mediating teen wars.

• In what stage of life do I currently find myself?
• How has that been defined by others, including children?
• How do I define it myself?
• How have I expressed gratitude for the past?
• How am I awed by the possibility of the future?

two minutes ago,
I swear

they were
hungry and
waiting for me
to push
the swing

when they are
home, they race
to their rooms,
cell phones or
ipods to catch
up with friends
they just saw

they’ve grown
up right
before my eyes

years ago,
it seemed
like time had stopped

those middle-of-the-night
feedings took decades

days acquired the
weight of months
in the midst of diapers,
big purses and time-outs

yet, they still
require at least one
good-night hug and kiss,
shelter from the storm
and a pep talk

I am needed,
but in a new way

one more freeing
for them and me

I am slowly working
myself out of
a job