This is one of my favorite times of year on social media (and those can be so few and far between).
It’s all about BACK TO SCHOOL – some little first-timers, some entering the next academic phase, some starting a “senior year” and, of course, the ones that really get me are the “dropping off to college” back to school pics. I still tear up at many of them.
You see, this is a time of year for new beginnings. A new school. Maybe a new teacher. An opportunity to make new friendships. A new roommate. A new sorority. A new campus. The multiple Instagram and Facebook posts blowing up my pages are filled with smiling children (well, except for the 8th grade son looking back over his shoulder at the camera with a “seriously, Mom” look) and sappy, beautiful messages of love for their children on this new beginning.
But what about the other side of that new beginning? You know, the pictures we don’t see?
On the other side of that photo there might be a nervous Mom whose son has never attended school before. On the other side of that photo there might be a celebrating Mom who is exhausted after a summer filled with “trying to find things to keep the kids entertained.” On the other side of that photo there might be a parent who is anxious as her “baby” enters into that huge building for high school. On the other side of that photo there quite possibly is a Mom who is dropping her youngest child off at college, struggling to keep the tears at bay, nervous to let this one “fly the nest” and even more anxious about how to live in a home that will now be so quiet and will not ever be the same.
You see, each of these “back to school” new beginnings represents a new beginning for one of our SHE friends as well. New beginnings are scary, exciting, exhilarating, anxious, fun and empowering. My advice with my “former counselor hat” on? Go ahead, grieve a bit for that chapter that chronology is forcing you to leave behind. Then, spend a little time with YOU. Alone. Your precious son or daughter is enjoying a new beginning that will involve new relationships, learning new things, mastering new skills (some academic, some life skills), learning the rules and how to navigate them and spreading their little wings and finding out who THEY are becoming. I know, that last sentence made me cry too!
But what if you took some time to embrace YOUR “back to school” new beginning? Will it mean starting a new business? Will it mean learning more about who YOU are in those hours that there is not someone at home wondering, “what’s for dinner?” or “where are my baseball pants?” or “can you drive me to…?” Will it mean being faced with some tough realities that our busy lives mothering our children so beautifully hide? Will it mean confronting a fear or two that you have kicked under the carpet to “deal with later?”
I have a lot of new beginnings inside of me. This year was pretty pivotal. While we have been empty nesters for 2 years now, I found something very special inside of my 50-year-old-self that just wasn’t there at 49. I became re-energized with my role at Veritex Bank coming up on my 10th Anniversary there. I started my new business as a rep with India Hicks and am moving thru all of the highs and lows of being a busy entrepreneur (no worries – the highs are exhilarating and the lows are great learning tools).
My husband and I have a new home, we ride around on a Vespa on the weekends (I think our kids think we are nuts) and we have a newfound love and appreciation for each other as we venture into “the next half century” as partners.
Don’t get me wrong…I miss my babies intensely, every day. It is so hard for me to not text them constantly or, better yet, facetime them every hour (I can see Alexa rolling her eyes at me now and Austin saying, “not going to happen”) to see how THEIR new beginnings are coming along.
But instead, I focus on MY new beginnings. I take a deep breath and I smile. I’ve had 19 “back to school” experiences with them and they are doing just fine.
What is YOUR new beginning? It doesn’t have to be monumental to anyone but YOU. Heck, I remember when just being able to go to a Yoga class without feeling guilty or “too busy” was the greatest moment ever for me!
I will drop Alexa off at Texas A&M this week. After we have hung the shower curtains, made the bed with the new bedding and gone thru that darn “condition of the apartment” checklist, I will tell her “I love you” and I will tell her what I have been saying to my children during “drop off” for years – both for their sake and for mine:
“You’ve got this.”
I will get back into my car, stop off at Buc-ee’s for a quick bathroom break before dark, cry about 30 minutes totally feeling sorry for myself as every image of every back to school since they were 3 years old flies thru my head. Then I will turn on some soulful music on the CHILL channel and plan my new beginning.
Is there a new beginning inside of YOU? You’ve got this. Now.
…because they will be home at 3 or after practice today or at Christmas!
Note from the SHE Files: The end of anything is the beginning of everything. You GO, girl!