Friday, May 24, 2013

endings and beginnings



Today was the last morning that Michael went to high school.

It’s finally over. Graduation is Saturday.

When the month of May 2013 passes, what I’ll remember most about these whirlwind days will be moments like this one. Times when I’m observing a tender ending or a “final, last time.”

Like Senior Ball. His final race. The end of the year Crew Banquet. Those are some of the bigger “last times” but this morning was a small and meaningful to me.

Each school day I am the first one out of bed. My routine is simple; I make a pot of coffee in front of this window and turn on Morning Joe so I can listen to the news while I make breakfast for Michael. I  refer to this quiet time as my “morning bliss.” While breakfast is cooking, I’m pulling food out of the fridge to make Michael’s lunch. During his rowing season I made two  large, healthy lunches because his workouts were so intense. This is how my mornings always began.

I was taking this photo early in the morning when Mr. Moss walked by.

“Well this is it, “ I announced to him. “All these years while the kids were in school, I had my  routine…. and now it’s coming to an end. It’s been my little version of morning bliss.”

“Morning bliss?” He laughed, “That’s not exactly how I remember it.” And I know in that second he’s referring to those chaotic parts of the morning; the ones that include my loud yells down the hallway.

“Michaeeeeeel… are you up yet?!”

Well duh. Of course it includes the craziness. The lost car keys. The school form that suddenly needs to be signed at the last minute. Michael walking out the door barefoot (“my shoes are in the car”) while I shove his lunch into his hands and ask him if he has enough gas. And me, sticking my head out the front door while I’m holding Stella’s collar, shouting “Don’t speed!”

Who ever said ‘bliss’ meant perfect?

The truth is, mothering is composed of millions of little moments that are woven together with tender acts of love and worry. We have daily routines that are honed by years of cozy repetition so in the end, each person—mom and child— really knows each other. Knows how to plough through stressful mornings and cranky moods and irascible questions. Like these.

“Ok, do you have everything?” I ask before he leaves.

“Mom, do you know you say that every morning?”

And in the next second he’s bending down so I can kiss his forehead before he bolts out the door


These are the sort of ordinary moments that make me pause these days. I want to relish it all. I want to take a mental snapshot in my mind of us at the kitchen island talking. Just being together on one of our mornings.

Because I’m fully aware that he’ll be leaving soon.

Is it my hormones? No. The truth is, I’ve always been this way. A feeler. A hopeless sentimental type. A griever of sorts.


The other night while we watched the Office finale from our traditional places on our lumpy, brown sectional, I listened to Michael and his Dad calculate how our family began watching The Office when he was only in sixth grade.

As the last show began, Michael jokingly said, “ Hey Mom, what are the odds of the final Office show happening during my last week of high school? Wow.. looks like my childhood is officially over.”

DSC_0142 copy

And I just smiled back… with a lump in my throat.


The final race








(P.S. a note to all my dear blogger friends: yes, I’ve been away. I haven’t figured out a way to blog during these crazy days and I’ve missed you all. But I’ll be back to regular posting shortly. And most importantly, I look forward to catching up on your lives, reading and commenting on your posts... I hope you understand. )





Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

I remember those days not so very long ago and I still miss them every day. As my father-in-law used to say, these are your golden years. Enjoy every moment.

Congratulations to the new graduate!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

That is quite the handsome young man you have there Leslie! And a hopeless sentimental, count me in! I tend to think of life in terms of a book, one precious chapter after another. Sometimes the transitions are a little rocky and uncertain. But the anticipation of what comes next fills us with hope and excitement! Happy graduation weekend to all of you!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh this is such a loving and tender post. I so remember all those same feelings. Such fabulous memories. Hugs, Marty

Unknown said...

I also remember those feelings. Exciting new beginnings yet a bit hard to let go. I so love having adult children but still, your post made me tear up a little for how it used to be. Congrats to your son and good job mom! Blessings, Patti

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Just came over from Marty's blog, Leslie. Congratulations on your son's graduation. He is a good looking young man. Yes, this is the lump in your throat time. I remember when my son graduated from high school and how I knew I was going to be a wreck. Next month he graduates from college and is heading to yet another school for a one year Master's program. His first year he went "away" {2 hours by car} and I was fine the whole time - until we got home, climbed the stairs, and came face to face with his empty bedroom. That was it! For two weeks I was a weepy mess. We adapt, us parents. : )

Sew a Fine Seam said...

I can feel the emotions you are feeling. My oldest is now a high schooler. And although it looks big and like a long time on one hand I know how fast time goes. She will soon be driving and then she will graduate and then her little sisters will be driving and then they will graduate and before I know it I will be in a house that is quiet more than it is not. Time marches on! Thinking of you as your life transitions!

Pam Kessler said...

Congratulations to Michael! That was such a fun time of my life, I remember it like it was yesterday, but we all know it was LONG ago. Just think of how much you have ahead of you. College. Weddings. Grandchildren. It's both sad to be the end of an era and happy to see what's to come!

Unknown said...

Life is filled with so many passages.....take each phase as a new beginning and enjoy the "new morning bliss".

Congratulations to Michael. And congratulations to you, Leslie for raising such a wonderful son.

Leslie said...

Leslie! What a handsome son you have:) and I can tell by the sparkle in his eye that he is happy and loves you very much.

Hang in there.. these feelings pass. The transitions are always tough but it's what's meant to be and you are ready for it. I recently did a post on my daughters graduation..not sure if you saw it?.. and have these same feelings. I had them when both my kids graduated form high school and again when they graduated from college. Be proud Leslie! Look at where is is now:) and where he is going. You might see him less but when you do.. you will have more quality time and I can't tell you how fun it is to have ADULT kids! We actually went wine tasting with our kids last weekend! Crazy, right? It's so fun to watch them grow. Keep yourself a little distracted and the ache in your heart will go away..

Have a wonderful weekend:) xxleslie

Lori said...

First off ~ no need to apologize for your absence ~ it is called life and it will always come before blogging. I want to give you a big hug and I can't even imagine what you are feeling right now ~ but a hug would make things better ~ yes??!! Congrats to Michael and enjoy the graduation tomorrow ~ I know that you have earned it just as much as he has. xoxo PS: I have missed you...

Sarah said...

Leslie, you've given us yet another perfect post. I'm not a mom, but as I read your words, I could feel the emotion. It is the simple things that you mention that make for special memories. I would savor just such moments too.
Congratulations to that handsome son of yours!
Enjoy the graduation festivities.

Leena Milligan Lanteigne said...

Leslie,I know what you mean as I too am very sentimental. It is true, however, what that quote you posted says about endings making new beginnings! I often miss the way things used to be when my kids were younger, but then I also appreciate and love the times since. I guess life has a funny way of balancing itself out! Congrats to your son on his accomplishments and to you and your husband for raising such a fine young adult! Hugs, Leena

Gypsy Heart said...

Oh my, I so remember those days! Utter bliss combined with intense frustration...all in the workings of a family. :) I so understand your feelings. The endings of having a baby, a toddler, a little one, then kindergarten and 10 days later, they're graduating! Bittersweet, that's for sure.

I probably shouldn't mention this here but when my son graduated from high school and then left for college, my husband and I were separating. A huge loss of my routine life, my son, my husband, my dog and my home. My daughter and I moved and it was like going to the Holiday Inn each evening after work.

Life goes on though and we all came through the storm in tact and very blessed!

Enjoy every moment as I know you will.


Gypsy Heart said...

P.S. He is quite handsome!! I know you're so very proud of him.


The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

Love the Ching quote at the end. But have a feeling that it takes a while for this new beginning to unfold. I used to treasure all of those last-childhood-moments with my eldest before he left home (just to go to is gran's in town) but I realise too that I've been saying goodbye to them all for years. I think what comes next is where you have to step back, not remind, not nag, not try to organise them but let them fall or fly or both.

Perhaps it's a not a loss but a new beginning for ourselves.

My youngest is still in high school, failing brilliantly, so my morning bliss starts when he is out the door!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

OH I so understand, Leslie, I am sentimental and a griever, too...I can hardly watch videos of my children when they were young. I so loved it all...
But there will be many wonderful times ahead, too...Congrats to all of you! XO

Jeanne Henriques said...

Michael is so handsome Leslie and I know that feeling all too well. Three down and one to never gets easier. Enjoy these precious days and months before college..and BTW..great job Mom!!

Jeanne xx (rowing mom too :)

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

I can soooo relate to this post. These are the most special of times and the hardest of times. It is really what it is all about though, isn't it...
Leslie, I have been away for awhile too, and yes life happens. Don't worry about it...just live it.

Meg said...

Oh this lovely. My son just fonished high school too and although I have another child to go but I know what you meam about the litany of lasts.

Christy James said...

Thanks for this post, Leslie as my oldest is just moving on to middle school (last day of elementary school coming soon boo hoo) and I need to be reminded to cherish these days. Life is so busy that its too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind! You ave a handsome boy there and I'm sure he's just as beautiful inside, too:)

Christy James said...

PS. Do your boys ever read these comments we make about them?!

Unknown said...

Hello Leslie!
It is such a treat to meet you and thank your for your kind comments on Stylemindchic. I came here to say hello and found myself getting lost in the lovely 'Gwen Moss' life for a bit. You and I do have so much in common. The graduation I attended for my nephew was also in Sacramento (it was a warm weekend!;). I grew up in Loomis but lived in LA during the 1980's just like you. I later did a stint in the bay area and am now in Chico. I am a School Psychologist/administrator for programs for students with emotional issues in Butte County. I have some fantastic clinicians on staff and enjoyed reading about your days as a therapist. I would imagine our paths have crossed (or almost crossed-maybe in Westwood in the late 80's? ;). I look forward to following your beautiful and heartfelt blog. In the meantime-enjoy your summertime with that wonderful family of yours.
Cheers, Heather @ Stylemindchic

Tamera Beardsley said...

Oh my dear... did this post ever hit home ... took me a while to read it because of the massive tear fall. You see... I'm an intensely sentimental feeler myself. As i prepare for the inevitable departure of my youngest third child... I too am relishing like none other... the ordinary flow of our days together... all the while striving for the elusive balance of holding on... and letting go...

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