The end of an era is something we think of on a grand scale. It's something that has to do with our government, our times and any change that affects our society as a whole. Together we get it. Together we understand that the world as we knew it just changed, and we find comfort in one another so that we may stay strong, move on and adapt to our new surroundings. But what about the end of eras that go on in our own private lives. Some endings are good, and some bad, but either way they require us to change. For some it could be a move, a new career, or the end of a relationship. Even the good endings can shake our core and make us feel unsteady on our feet....When my mom died it was the end of an era for my family and for myself. Life as I knew it would never be the same and I was now a very different person. As soon as she got sick, it was the end of an era but it was all happening so fast that I didn't realize it. Then when she died it was the end of an era again and nothing would ever be the same. But slowly, I came back to life with the help of my family and friends and because as my mom used to say "time has a way of letting you heal". I miss her everyday and I think of her everyday, but now her memory gives me strength.
When my oldest son was leaving for college, I was prepared a year in advance. I was hyper aware that there was another end of an era right around the corner. I knew that in one year his kind hearted face was not going to be behind his bedroom door talking to ten friends on video chat on school nights. I knew I could not walk in at 11:30 at night and say "please it's getting late......get ready for bed and I love you." I knew I would no longer have all four of us under the same roof every night in what seemed like forever. When they were young it felt like this would be my world forever....or at least for the next forty years. College and the age 18 were for older kids....not mine. But there it was staring at me in the face and I was setting the table for three instead of four. I was going into his room at night and crying for a bit....remembering the year before and all the life that was happening in that space. In actuality everything was great. My son was in college at a school that he loved. He was extremely happy and successful there and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. This was the way it was supposed to be, but go tell that to my heart.
In time I got used to our new set up like my sister said I would. I got used to him coming home for vacations and talking and texting on the phone. I got used to our new era and it's working just fine. All is good.
But as I sit here and write this I am sitting across the table from my youngest son who is going to be a senior in high school next year. He is studying for finals and looking on College Prowler to check out the schools he is interested in. Together we are laughing, just hanging out and talking about something that just went on in school.....but in my heart I'm thinking "one more year and my baby will be off. One more year and it will be another end of an era". I am huge on enjoying the moment. I never have to be told to enjoy the here and now. I do. But go tell that to my heart.
So as I begin to practice adjusting for the day that he too leaves for school and I begin the next era, I remember what my dad has posted on his wall in his office.
"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Darwin.