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GRADUATIONS EQUAL TRANSITIONS

Graduations … wow. It’s that time of the year again. No, not Christmas. Not that yet. It’s that time for endings. Curious timing for an ending when you think about it – essentially in the middle of the calendar year. The real issue is less about the ending. It’s more about the transitions both students and their families must process before the start of the next school year.

Most of us remember the heart-palpitating excitement, increasing frenetic energy, and wide-eyed thrill of the final bell ringing out the current school year. We’ve forgotten the impact of those transitions. In spite of how ready we felt for the next phase, a low current of fear coursed through our veins as to what was next.

The fear of the unknown.

For us now as parents, we face a similar but different kind of fear. One not so much about kids, although that does exist, rather more about ourselves. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Graduations

Eighth-grade “promotions” were deemed important to note the imminent start of high school. High school graduations signaled permanently-changed family dynamics. One little darling left the nest, siblings, and the comforts of home. Chores and responsibilities were left to be reshuffled. College graduations are more the mental game for us parents, shocked that our offspring are allegedly prepared to take responsibility to begin the rest of their lives. 

Likely, we are more shocked that we could be old enough to have children going to and/or graduating from college. (We can cover weddings and grandchildren in a future blog. I’m not quite there yet. This educational transition stuff is enough topic for one post!)

I Get You

This year, 2018, my husband and I face several of these blessed events. Our “baby” graduates from high school; our next “angel” graduates from college; and our eldest “brat” marries between winter holidays. My mother has lovingly suggested I take up drinking more Red Red Wine  (original version) … too bad I’m not much of a drinker.

In addition, we’ve put our house on the market to downsize. Talk about change! I’ve run to hide and share this experience with you, all while I finish the second book in that trilogy – yes, finally. (Fear not! Book 3 will not take as long!) … But I digress.

Spending too much time mourning the loss of your little pumpkin? Think you’re woefully inadequate now that they’re gone? Consider something more healing and forward thinking.

In fact, let me empower all parents.

Consider Yourselves

What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you still have “little ones” at home? Do you realize your role will change quickly? Ponder the possibilities. What does your kids’ post-secondary education picture look like for you? Determine what steps (if any) you need to take now to begin this major life transition. If you’re an empty nester and hadn’t considered a vocation beyond chief family cook and bottle washer, NOW is the time! If you’ve been petrified about this day for years but chiseling away at preparations, NOW is the time to take the next step!

Be like the amazing children you’ve raised: graduate. Transition. NOW is the time!

P. S. The above-mentioned transitions delayed this blog’s updates. My plan is to show up about once a month now. Of course, after I Cry Me A River (original version) and mourn at least one day (but not more than two) that my role as a parent has changed now … forever.

LESSON: DOG IS GOD SPELLED BACKWARDS

I love my dogs. Truth be told, I love animals. Dogs of all sizes and breeds, crazy and sane cats, skittish deer, quirky quail, freaky fish, lions and tigers and bears! OH MY! Remember my blog last week talking about relationships and how life is all about them? Besides love for our fellow human, name another relationship that teaches humans more lessons about themselves and each other?

Lemme explain.

398 MINUTES

So, it’ll come as little surprise that I was actually off kilter today upon my return home. After dropping off my two fuzzy kids at the vet’s for a dental procedure, I felt weird and lost entering my silent house. No tails wagged. No whiskers twitched. No furry lips turned up in smiles. I hadn’t anticipated feeling this way. After all, they were only going to be gone for a few hours.

Hours? HA! I counted the minutes. I counted all 398 of them, until they were back in my car heading home with me. I had such trouble focusing on writing, editing, whatever tasks required more than 76 seconds of concentration. Seriously! You’d think they were gone forever. Understand, I’ve been through that, too. The loss of a pet furry family member is brutal when there’s been an attachment. Anyone who’s cared for, fed, tended to, and, of course, loved a critter gets this. Am I wrong?

pets pic

GUARDIANS

My pooches through the years have always been my guardian angels. They’re my constant writing companions, doorbell alert signalers, and faithful protectors of my family and me. They are loyal … most of the time (except when my mom and sister visit. “I’m here to spoil my four-legged niece/nephew/grandchild,” they quip — we don’t see those two fleabags until they’re pouting that those favorite humans left); lick my cried tears; and put each of our kids to bed nightly. The lessons of kindness, faithfulness, and love are unconditional, generous, and consistent. Easily their unsurpassed adoration alone is cause to weep at their absence. Who loves you like that in your life?

LESSON

An invaluable, though painful, lesson for all of us to learn is one of loss. Sadly, because our time on earth is limited, we all experience it. Dogs teach us how to grieve and cope with loss. In the famous words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, “’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”   http://knowledgenuts.com/2014/02/05/tennyson-wrote-tis-better-to-have-loved-and-lost-about-a-man/

I grew up with three hunting dogs, two stray cats, and a salt-water tank of tropical fish. Birth and death happened often. Mom always held our hands and allowed us to grieve and eulogize; Dad helped with the burials. Still, the joy of healing broken hearts by rescuing another fluff-ball in need never eliminated the beloved memory of a lost friend. It merely softened the hurt.

Finally, as my own children grow up, move out, and care for their own fuzzy confidantes, I bask in their bonds and know they witness God in their own fashion daily. How else would we know how to raise us mere mortals? Ain’t it grand that lessons come in so many forms! Remember: dog spelled backwards is God after all.

P.S. Thanks to unisci24.com for pic.

LIFE IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

Life is all about relationships. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about babes or boys; beasts or broccoli; Broadway or baseball. How we relate or connect with our world as a whole is up to us. The real trick, sometimes, is to follow our kids’ leads.

“Malarkey! Sometimes things, kids, LIFE happens, and we simply have to react.”  Sure, it’s still up to each of us every day to choose how we react. Then determine if that reaction yields a positive or negative relationship. Let me show you what I mean.

KATIE, MICHAEL & USAIN

Recently Katie Ledecky, teenager and highly decorated U.S. swimmer, spoke of her Rio Olympic experience after a race. “I’ve just had a lot of fun this week not only in the pool but … with my teammates. The memories mean more than the medals to me here. I’m just so proud of my teammates and what we all have accomplished…” She embraced the entire exhilarating relationship (with her teammates as well as the competition) the same way she’s dominated her events since she was six years old: with youthful enthusiasm. It’s infectious, wouldn’t you agree?

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete ever, said in interviews that Coach Bob Bowman is “a father figure to me … He’s helped me through some of the worst times in my life, and he’s been there every step of the way and I’m forever thankful.” Their relationship, while often called complicated, has worked. What “parent/child” relationship hasn’t been complicated?

Then there’s the relationship between Usain Bolt and his mom. For all his showmanship, he’s still human, still gets nervous. His mom’s shared the best way to calm her son is for her to be calm initially and to use humor. How’s THAT for relating to the fastest human ever recorded on earth?

 

ASPARAGUS, BROCCOLI & BRUSSEL SPROUTS

Allergies, bad childhood experiences and peer pressure all influence relationships. Using food as an example, though people can be substituted, too, we make choices to eat our veggies based on so many factors. Certain choices connect us, while others segregate us. Just like children, we may initially not care for one flavor, try it again weeks, even years down the road, and find we’ve changed our minds. Funny how relationships may evolve, isn’t it?

broccoli brussel sprouts asparagus

 

 

 

BASEBALL, OPERA & TECHNOLOGY

Whether you watch sports, prefer the arts or play video games, your relationship with any activities exemplifies how you connect or escape, relax or process, love or reject in your life. Kids’ (and adults’) games show us, again, all about relationships.

Relationships-Matter-blog-logo

 

Follow the leads of our children of all ages; choose to embrace (instead of blame) relationships on all levels; and something shocking happens. We focus more on using our energies for the betterment of all, because, even if selfish, we know we benefit.

So logically, since we’re all in relationship with each other, why not consider what we expect from our children at school? More peace than war and more love than hate for our shared planet. Imagine how we can affect our global relationships! Aren’t relationships fascinating when you’re open to learning from them. https://www.creativereview.co.uk/the-story-behind-make-love-not-war/