Thursday, April 19, 2012

Where Have All the Young Ones Gone...

When you give birth to a baby, you inherently know that at some point in the future you will have to let go of said-baby. If you don't, said-baby will let you know by kicking or crying or pushing away...somehow. And when that happens, life is forever going to be different.

For some that first "letting go" comes when they go back to work -- sometimes at 6 weeks or sometimes when the baby is slightly older. And when that happens, life is forever different.

For others, that first moment comes when the child goes to school -- whether preschool or kindergarten. They drop them off or wave goodbye to the schoolbus, knowing that life is forever different.

Then there are some who don't really do this "letting go" until the children are much, much older. They might choose to homeschool them, keeping them closer to home for awhile longer. There are outside activities, to be sure, like dance or soccer or theater or youth group or even a homeschool group. But the children haven't officially left home -- not in the traditional sense anyway.

School is done at the dining room table or the local coffee shop or the backyard or the library. Evenings are divided between family time and activities, the enjoyment of laughing together warming each family members' heart.

It's comfortable.

Summers pass peacefully with the minimum of activities and the maximum of books and drawing tablets and games and crafts and relaxation. Trips to the playground are punctuated by quick pop-ins to the library on the way home to pick out "just-five-okay-six-wait-no!-okay-ten" books to read in the next two evenings. Summer jobs aren't necessary just yet -- they will be soon -- but just not yet. There's time for exploration and fun...and the bliss of boredom.

But the summers end all too soon, and it's back to the books at the table and activities after dinner...

...thus, the seasons pass.

In the back of these parents' minds is the fact that at some point in the not-so-far-off future these days of comfort will end....the "schoolbus" will come for these children. And this comfort that has been enjoyed over the years will begin to change...and life will be forever different.

But different isn't bad, right? Different is just changed, and change can be good depending on how you look at it.

And this change will mean that time spent together as a whole family will be cherished a bit differently, treated as the treasure that it is -- special moments together enjoyed on a whole new level. Life will begin to open like the layers of a "cootie-catcher," each triangular fold opening up possibilities for a new kind of fun.

So it goes...the passing of one generation to another. We all grow older. It's all a part of having children, right?

It just feels like the summer ends too soon.

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