First and last, beginning and end

It’s the first day of school in our hood. As someone who thrives on routine and schedules, I’m always eager for the first day of school to come around. I love summer. But by the end of it, I feel like my brain is just chaotic mush. Don’t get me wrong…I so enjoy the time I have home with the kids. I love that I work from home and can be here to enjoy summer with them. But the start of the school year is always a welcome thing.

This year has some bittersweet emotion tied to it. This is the first year that I haven’t driven Payne to school on his first day. Ever. He’s officially a licensed driver now. And while I absolutely will not miss having him to 6:15AM practices, not driving him to school got me a little in my feelings.

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This is also the last year that I drive Addi to Tally Elementary. A family we have been a part of for 762 years because when your kids are 5 1/2 years apart you feel like you’re part of the furniture of the elementary school. This is the last time I walk her into her class on day 1. We’ve loved every minute we’ve had at Tally since Payne was there. Knowing this is the end of this chapter is a tough one.

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As we’ve said too many goodbyes to college friends this last week or so, it’s made me very aware of time and how quickly it passes. We’re at stages with both kids where there are more lasts than firsts. More endings than beginnings. And it can get easy to get wrapped up in sadness for those things. It can be easy to realize the next first day for Payne is his last first day of high school. And get so consumed by that, that I miss the year we have right now. The time that will pass so quickly, whether I’m present in it or not.

It can be easy to realize the next first day for Addison will be her first first day not in elementary school. And get so consumed by that, that I miss all that 5th grade has for her.

It can be easy to get so wrapped up in the goodbyes with those going off to college, that I miss really seeing the amazing things that this new chapter has for them. The lasts, the endings…they’re hard. They’re bittersweet. Or sometimes just bitter. But they’re almost always followed by a first or a beginning that has so much beauty in it. So much opportunity for growth and new things.

Time is an interesting thing. I’ve heard people say that the days are long, but the years are short and I fully relate to that in this season of life. God has blessed me more than I could ever deserve with these people that I do life with. But am I’m really living presently in every day? Am I really allowing myself to soak up all of the firsts and lasts? Because they’re happening either way. Am I focusing so much on the endings, the lasts, the hard things, that I’m missing the beauty of the beginnings, the firsts?

My prayer this year for myself, and for you, is that I’m fully present in these days. School party? Count me in. Team dinner? I’m here for it. Road trips for games and meets? I’m all about it. Late nights doing homework, working through the struggles of the year, frustrations, disappointments…ALL OF IT…I’m all in. Present. A year from now looking back and knowing my people knew that I was here for it. For them. Not perfectly. But presently.

Happy first day, parents. Soak it in. It’ll be the last day before you know it!

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