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The Season of New Beginnings

By Blogger
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This is the season for the celebration of new beginnings. Every May, I am reminded of this season when I open my mailbox to find it overflowing with a myriad of invitations.

Some are for high school or college graduations. Others are inviting friends and family to celebrate the union of two joining their lives in a new future together. No matter what the event, it is always an occasion of great joy and celebration.

We had our own celebration this year as my husband’s oldest son graduated from college. The coliseum was alive in a sea of exhilaration, pride, happiness! Years of work, promise and hope were fulfilled before our eyes. The joy that radiated seemed to have a life of its own that was reflected in every word, every breath, every smile. For the graduates, one door was closing while another, yet fully unknown, door was just beginning to open.

It’s right and good that we are focused on the graduate at this time. This is their moment – their celebration to mark the achievement of the first of many milestones in their lives. Graduation should be about them. This is their walk down the runway and to make them the center of attention is exactly how it should be.

However, in the joy of their celebration, we lose focus that this life event marks not only a new beginning for the graduate, but a new beginning for the parents as well. One phase of the parents’ life – the life that revolved around PTA, car pools, little league, senior prom - is beginning to close. As our children begin the walk through the doorway to their future, we begin our walk into the next phase of our lives as well – a walk where we are no longer the parents of small children. A walk where we are no longer needed on a daily basis to kiss away the hurts of a scraped knee or broken heart. A walk where we have become the parents of fully functioning, self-sufficient adults who don’t quite “need” us in the same way that they did when they were young.

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This is not the first article that I have read from this author, and I have loved everyone of them; but this one really hit home. Thanks for writing it!

June 19, 2009 - 6:32am

I like your optimism! These days, I see too many people worrying about the future instead of living in the present. Thank you for a better perspective!

June 12, 2009 - 11:45am
EmpowHER Guest

Mary, that was very inspiring. Did you really find a bucket of stink bombs in his room? That would have stopped my tears as well. It's a wonderful gift you gave your children of actually loving them and caring for them while they changed from chubby caterpillars to beautiful butterflies.

June 10, 2009 - 5:43pm
Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

I actually did find an honest-to-goodness (or is that badness?) stink bomb in a gallon jar under his bed. He worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken just before he left for the Marines and had been bringing home leftover mashed potatoes and gravy to add to the concoction (trying to gain optimal "stink" power)! He used to tell us that he kept dreaming his bed was a bucket of chicken. After cleaning out from under his bed, I knew why!!!

I loved your analogy of "chubby caterpillars to beautiful butterflies." I think we all love the chubby caterpillar stage but when you finally see that butterfly in full flight - well, it's just awesome and so worth the loss of the caterpillar.

June 10, 2009 - 7:54pm

What an excellent article of how you not only gave yourself permission to move on but how you also made a conscious decision to change the meaning of "empty nest".

Many don't realize, like you have, that we all have the power to change the meaning of any event. You changed the meaning from losing your identity to finding the opportunity to invent a new identity or rediscover an identity you had years ago that you enjoyed.

June 10, 2009 - 4:24pm
Blogger (reply to CharlotteSal)

I truly believe that every event that happens has the potential to be a powerful force for both "good" or "bad" in our lives. I think that the difference in the ultimate outcome rests within ourselves. We may not be able to control the event, but we have a choice on how we ultimately respond to the event. That response makes the difference between "life" and "death" in terms of how we live.

It would have been very easy at that point in time in my life to lose myself for good. In fact, it would have been much easier than the path I chose. Leaving my comfort zone was one of the hardest journeys I ever started. In the long run, the struggle has been so worth it. I'm so glad I made the choice that I did. It's also had the benefit of setting an example for my daughter (who is transforming her life at the moment) and my granddaughter as well.

June 10, 2009 - 8:22pm
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