I’ve been preoccupied in recent weeks with my Only Child’s imminent entrance to College Life. She will be fine, I’m sure, as she has more life skills in hand than anyone I ever knew at that age. What I’ve been pondering is the change in home life after she’s gone.
My marriage is strong, but I would be fooling myself to say we haven’t - by necessity - grown somewhat apart. How far apart remains to be known as we both reach toward the other across the gap. Will we have the reach? This concerns me.
Too, reaching fifty years is not a happy contemplative occasion. This also awaits me near the end of this year. The lengthening list of “Lasts” this small family is accruing adds solemnity to the celebrations of High School graduation: the last orchestra concert, the last jazz band show, the last piano recital, and - occurring this weekend - her last dance recital weekend. Forthcoming is her last art lesson, her last piano lesson and other, tinier closings of a previous life. These add to the “Getting Old” feeling I haven’t shrugged off lately.
So - a changing of gears, a new beginning for my daughter as well as for my marriage. We will persevere, but not without a healthy dose of trepidation. I am reminded of a quote:
“Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter;
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.”
–Zen master Wu-men