24 trees. I just counted 24 beautiful maple saplings adorning the street I used to travel down with my youngest son on our morning walks to school. Two years ago, when they were first planted, and he was in his final year of elementary school, there were 27.
Where did those three missing trees go? Did they not survive? Were they uprooted? Or perhaps they are a symbol of my three children, whose lives are starting to scatter, and who are uprooting me in all sorts of ways.
With this post, I am saying goodbye to my regular weekly blog at Current Mom. I will no longer be walking around with one ear tilted towards conversations, one eye roving and finding things that inspire. “Oh!” I would often think. “That’s the blog this week!” Or, in the middle of a conversation I would suddenly blurt out, “I feel a blog coming on!”
Whether it was about my three sweet children, or about my life as a mom who works out of the home (as a consultant when I first started blogging but now with a mind-boggling full-time job and a position of semi-senior leadership in an organization I both adore and which drives me batty,) as a wife, a sister, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a friend, a member of a civic community, a spiritual community, a soccer/basketball/baseball/field hockey rooter, a chauffeur, a commuter, a citizen of the neighborhood, community and world – I have been seeking the very personal and particular and trying to make connections to the universal for four years.
That’s a long run. A long time to be viewing the world with a critical eye, always thinking about what to say.
But in fact, that’s what I’ve been doing my entire life. I have always been a writer, even when I wasn’t writing. I just didn’t always see how important the process was to my understanding of the world until I started this blog. For I parse my life through words. I am a better mother, a better spouse, a better friend, a better person for my columns and my thinking on paper. Writing does for me what Leonard Cohen suggested is the way we need to view the world – by opening its cracks and letting the light in.
My writing this column has let the light in.
But, as with everything, there is a time to move on. My oldest child is off on his own adventure, 8 hours and zillions of parsecs away from home. My daughter is in high school, and my youngest, who was only 8 years old when I started, is now preparing for his bar mitzvah. I won’t have a bar mitzvah column about him, the way I did about his brother and sister.
Things have changed like rapid fire over the past four years. In one of my first columns, I talked about how inappropriate I thought it was for parents and caretakers to be talking on their phones while pushing a stroller. Today, I don’t know anyone, except perhaps my husband, who is not completely tethered to technology.
My kids are older. We have more fun together because they’re old enough to enjoy gentle sarcasm, humor and important issues in the world. They are also compassionate and intelligent and good company. I really, really enjoy being the mom of teens, and kind of wish it would never end. I remember my own parents saying how terrible teens were when I was that age, which I think was the prevailing wisdom of the time. But I think teens are awesome.
Then again, I miss my babies. Just today, I got to rub the belly of a neighbor’s baby on my way up the block. It was so soft and delicious, I could just cry. My sensory nerves brought me back immediately to my own children’s bellies, and the feeling of hoisting them up on my hip first thing in the morning as I walked outside to greet the day.
I miss those days. But I am also glad to be here, present, healthy and happy with my family and friends.
There will be more trials to come. More tribulations. More wrenching moments, and moments of utter joy. I will not be memorializing them all from here on in, but perhaps I will be moved to write about one occasionally. And I hope you will be here to listen.
Thank you for being such loyal readers and for sharing this journey with me. I will miss having the chance to hear from you. Perhaps we’ll meet again when I start blogging about being an empty-nester, aging worker, seeking new adventures and new challenges in that next phase of life.
For now, though, I will continue to position myself at the intersection of work/family/life that has consumed me for years and which I hope will be my meeting point for years to come.
Photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr