Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Slice of Life: New Chapters



Thank you to Ruth and Stacey for hosting Slice of Life Tuesdays.  You can read more slices on their blog.  




My FB status says it all.  I'm sitting at the main campus of the Columbus Metropolitan Library while Annie registers for classes for her freshman year at the local college.  I wondered if it would be creepy...a grown woman sitting in the children's section, with no children in tow. Surely there are quiet sections of the library reserved for adults where tables are scattered for those intent on getting some research or serious reading done.  If there are, I didn't look for them.  I gravitated to the bright, bustling area where children and parents can search for books, sing songs (happening in the room behind me), and play in one of the many areas designated for kids' exploration.  This is where I feel at home.  Memories tumble in of bringing my  three young children here for story time or just to get books.  We would make a day of it...library time, picnic lunch...so much fun.  I am happy here amidst all the kids and books.

And yet today is bittersweet for me for several reasons.

Three sticky notes attached to the microwave greeted me this morning.  A note from Annie with: the times she needed to be at school to register for classes (and she needs a ride, please), a request for more black ink (she couldn't print her ACT scores), and a plea to put her jeans in the dryer.   My plans for holing up in the office to get some needed reading and writing done completely evaporated.  Temporarily, frustration welled up inside of me as I grumbled about having to give up my plans to accommodate hers...when will she grow up (blah, blah, blah), while at the same time, I was secretly glad that she still needed me and I had the flexibility to help her.  I can read and write anywhere.

A few hours later, my phone rang:  a call from Molly, my oldest who is completing her summer internship in California.  Hmmm...it's not like her to call me during the day.  I know I'm not supposed to talk on my cell phone at the library, but it isn't exactly quiet here in the children's section, so I cautiously answered, hoping that the library czars wouldn't swoop down on me and snatch my phone away.

"Hello," I whispered.
"Mom, why are you talking so quietly?"
"I'm in the library."
"You're not supposed to talk on the phone at the library."  (Molly is a rule follower like me)
"I know.  But there's lots of noise from the kids, so I think it will be ok.  What's up?"
"Well, I called to tell you I've been offered a full-time job in San Francisco."

My heart immediately jumped into my throat and tears crept up into my eyes.  I knew this day was coming.  She's so good at what she does and design jobs are hard basically impossible to find in the middle of Ohio.  The best jobs are on the east and west coasts.  She still has a year of grad school to finish at Carnegie Melon, so the move isn't immediate, but it's on the horizon.  My secret wish that she would settle relatively close to us began to dissolve.

So many feelings swirl around me as this chapter in my life ends.  I know the story isn't over; there's lots more to come, but it's with a little sadness that I say good-bye to the hectic years of raising children.  They've grown into their own people who have goals and dreams.  They no longer need me to kiss their scraped knees or create costumes for the school play (or run to the store at 10:00 pm for a forgotten whatever for the next day).  At the same time, it's with excitement and joy that I anticipate what comes next not only for my kids, but for me as well.  Change is upon us.  I don't know what exactly it will bring, but I do know that even though I'm going to miss the first part, I'm looking forward to the next part of the story.






6 comments:

  1. I am sure you are very proud of your daughter, but I am also sure it is very difficult to let go. I am much closer to that chapter in my life than I would like...two more years.

    I hope you continue to find the excitement and joy in this new chapter!. I was once told that every chapter with your kids is good...so far I would agree.

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  2. I love the images I could see swirling in my head during this post... especially how you describe furtively answering your phone in the library!

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  3. We recently went to a library in Portland, and I too ended up in the children's section. I love visiting different libraries. Your line "...I cautiously answered, hoping that the library czars wouldn't swoop down on me and snatch my phone away," made me smile. Good luck as you embark on the next part of your story.

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  4. Such a sweet post, Julie! Libraries bring back fond memories for me too, since my mom and I spend lots of time there when I was little! I loved the little snippet of your phone conversation with your note that you are both rule-followers -- I am too! Congratulations to both your daughters on they embark on these exciting new pieces of their life journeys. At least with technology they'll never be too far away!

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  5. Thinking of you and how this moment must feel! It's a long way off for me but I'm not looking forward to it. Seeing children grow up is bitter-sweet...

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  6. It's both an exciting time for you because you're proud of your daughters and their success and futures being a bit settled, but sad because they'll be so far away. I guess we'll always be the parent won't we, no matter how old our children are. Best wishes Julie. I like the way you set up your post, starting in the library & moving from old memories to new events.

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