May 17, 2012

A Mother's Day to Remember

A spring Oriental Poppy in our yard. Change can be beautiful
We've been busy. Really busy. When you have a house filled with 6 children (not usually all at once, but I always think of the number alone as impacting. I like to say it: six.) you cannot avoid it, but this year it is especially so for us.

We have a toddler who is about to become a preschooler, a child finishing her first year of middle school, a child finishing his first year of high school, a child graduating high school, a child turning 21 and a child graduating college.

I like to joke that if you want to feel young forever, just keep having babies. It's not that simple. You need energy to stay young, too, and alas, there does not seem to be a limitless supply, no matter how much vitamin D and Gingko Biloba you take. When the subject comes up, I also like to joke that when we decided to have a child when I was 39 and my husband was 43, God looked down upon us and said something like, "You want a child at 40? Here, try this one." Even God must have had trouble holding back laughter at this joke. And He must have certainly snickered to Himself as he sent us little Amy Rose. Amy Rose. Who keeps us up night after sleepless night and then runs, giggling, away from us non-stop all day as she tears apart everything in her path. Amy Rose: A tiny, impish, adorable tornado of cute desolation.

Energy or not, time marches on. While that seems to be a favorite theme of my mid-life epiphanies, it simply is true.

Last week, as I checked out two potential preschools for Amy, and was simultaneously planning a trip to Seattle to see my oldest daughter graduate from college on Mother's Day, I contemplated this year of change. It is quite a doozy.

I marvel at it all. Amy talks in great, adult sentences at just 3. Alex is leaving home soon; Ben will be a senior in 3 short years. And Jolene, my 23 year old, graduated from Cornish College for the Arts on Mother's Day with a BFA in dance, cum laude and on 4 scholarships. (I'm not proud or anything...ahem!)

The good and the bad of it all; the ugly and the drama that comes with teens, or the precocious mischief that comes with toddlers, all ends (usually...hopefully not the mischief...if I have my way...) in adulthood. And while there are, of course, even more rites of passage through adulthood, this last year feels especially meaningful to me, like there is a crossing of all the paths at once. Sort of like the planets aligning.

It's a great time to see. To really see in our house. See the stages of life all at once, it seems. Even my parents come to mind. My dad turn 81 next month and it just increases the wonder. It feels like I have been given a map, unfolded it, and spread it out on a very large table. Between my three year old and older kids, my middle-aged husband, me, and my parents, we have at least one representative from every age group.

I plan to take it all in, enjoy it, hopefully receive insights and hindsights. Inspiration and direction.

As my daughter walked down the aisle after receiving her diploma to the beat of live African drum music, complete with costumed dancers (what do you expect from an arts college? It sure beat Pomp and Circumstance), I beamed.

I wept.

I am overjoyed even in difficulty.

I am glad to be alive.
Left to right: My mom, dad, Annie, me, husband Luigi behind me, Jolene to my left, Alex, then Amy Rose
in front. Geoffrey and Ben are not in the picture this time.

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