I continue to think life will slow down, that I won’t always be on the run. I continue to be wrong. So very, very wrong. Instead of slowing down, I’ve gone and ramped things up again. I have a bad habit of doing that.
Everything in my life is about to enter a new season. It’s all exciting. It’s all scary. It’s interesting and fulfilling. It’s sad and difficult. In other words, it’s life.
As I’ve bemoaned and celebrated on social media for months, my son is about to graduate from high school. In two days he will reach that all-important milestone of adolescence. In three weeks he will be 18 and no doubt will remind me regularly that he’s now an adult and can do whatever he wants (he’s been thinking that since he was 12, so it’s a song whose refrain I’m very familiar with). This is my only child, and I’ve been a single mother for twelve years. I have an active village of my son’s father as well as family and friends who have raised this child, but the weight of his well being has largely been on me.
While I will continue to feel the weight of his well being, I won’t be dealing with some of the minutiae of his everyday life. He’ll be at college and will have to get himself up, decide what and when to eat, and take responsibility for his studies and his job. I am relieved about some of this absence of duty. I don’t think I’ll be one to mourn my empty nest too much, but every now and then I get a glimpse of how quiet my life will be, and that quiet is terrifying and liberating all at once.
As if kicking the baby bird out of the nest weren’t enough, I accepted a job about six months ago with the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance in Little Rock. I love my job. I get to see first-hand the good work of the people of Arkansas. This summer I will make a permanent move there. My life in Northwest Arkansas is full and rich and sometimes rather noisy with all its busy-ness. As with the empty nest, this coming quiet phase of life is both terrifying and liberating. I have friends and family in central Arkansas, and I look forward to spending time with them. But leaving the comfort of my community in the beautiful Ozarks, where, as the song goes, everybody knows my name, will probably be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
But as C. JoyBell C. says, how will my son or I ever know about the great big sea if we stay comfortable in our pond? I want these changes for my career, for my personal development. I want the college experience and an adventure in the big ol’ world for my son. I want to be a little less anxious. But more than anything, I like to grow. I like to see my son grow. So that’s what we’re about to do. Grow.