There have been moments in the life of this project when I’ve encountered what I now call a view from the ridge. These are instances in which you get a sense that you’ve emerged from the thickets of daily family life – appointments, events, stuff – and find yourself at a juncture where you can suddenly assess where you’re at and where you’re going. This late August morning is such a time. When the first View note – linked above – was written seven years ago, Eldest was entering high school, Middle was entering his last year of elementary school and Youngest was finishing first grade and discovering a love for baseball.
This morning’s instance was the awakening to the fact that Eldest is now officially out of the household. I awoke early and padded down the hallway, entering a closed door to a room that was now empty except for a single bed. All of the remaining furniture and clothing was gone, packed up and moved out several days previously. Such a process is slowly occurring in Middle’s room, now in college; it’s become clear that this past summer was his last at home as his own studies and professional development will require that he pursue opportunities in major urban areas. All of the furniture is still there, but that which gives it personality – that which makes you understand that it’s Middle’s room – is partially gone to his new college digs. Youngest’s room is still clustered there with his siblings’ rooms but he is now entering high school himself and gearing up for a Fall/Winter run at making the school baseball team, a far cry from the T-ball year when I started writing.
In the other direction, the elder generation is finally settled after a lengthy period in which I sometimes wondered whether the sandwich in the term sandwich generation was actually a panini, hard pressed. There are still rough patches ahead as age and disease process continue, but a look backwards is revealing for the thicketed woods through which we’ve come. What hasn’t changed through this is the presence of my Better Half, a person about whom I’ve largely been silent in the writings. BH is my companion and love, a person with gifts at which I still marvel and without whom the thickets would be far more difficult. And perhaps that’s the one of the biggest surprises as I sit here mulling what to write…that as the kids grow and move out into the world, you again find the time and energy to rediscover that one person with whom you began to travel the road. Make the effort to step back from the day-to-day occasionally to apprise where you are and take stock of what you’ve come through, where you’re going and most importantly, who you’re with.