As my daughter starts another school year, and nostalgia hits hard upon seeing posts from friends who’s kids are at varying stages of sending them off the school ~ from grade school to high school to college ~ I can’t help but wonder about my life and how I got here, how I arrived at this place in time, and how time seems to be moving at an epic pace. I scroll past images of school kids half rolling their eyes for the camera and the moms quoting “How did this happen so fast” and “empty nest sadness” proclamations. Happy kids, bored kids, staged photos and photos taken after school because you forgot to take them before. Pictures of cars packed for college. Dorm pictures. Places in time, places we will remember. Snapshots of how we wish time could stand still. I wonder how many of us are sitting at work and wondering how our kids first day of school is going, whether it’s kindergarten or college. And a flood of memories stream back to us of backpacks and back to school shopping and lining up for the bus and hours picking out the perfect first day outfit and sleepless nights the night before, and pouring over schedules and events and football games and all that a new school year brings. It’s a fun time, an exciting time, a sad time and an emotional time all rolled into one. And here I am, in this place, wondering how in the world did I get here.
Some people stay in the same house, in the same city and in the same state their entire life. Some travel the world only to come back to the same house, same city, same state. Some leave and never return. Some stay until their kids are gone, then leave. Some never end up anywhere in particular and float from place to place and state to state. Some are grounded, some are restless. Jobs take us away. Family takes us back home. Life, and our place in it, always seems to keep us wondering ‘how in the world did I get here’.
There’s a philosopher that says something like ‘As you go through life you feel like your world is made up of chaos and storms and anarchy and it always seems to be crashing in from everywhere and nothing makes sense. But as you get older and look back on your life, it all looks like a perfectly orchestrated poem’ or something like that. I am not old enough to look at my life like a perfectly orchestrated poem yet, but I believe someday I will. All of this chaos and uncertainty and anarchy will make sense and will help me to know why, or how, I got here. How I arrived at this place.
Anna is a junior in high school. She has 2 more amazing, fun, exciting, Friday-night-lights-dances-afterwards-grades-struggle-soccer-exams-fight-the-establishment years left. After she leaves my nest I am certain a whole new sense of purpose will come crashing in on me. And it will be chaos and anarchy all over again. And although even then I most likely won’t look back at my life as a perfectly orchestrated poem, I am hopeful it will begin to make sense, and I will know why I was always in the right place and how I got there.
Until then, I’ll enjoy the ride and make every effort to make each day count, keeping a happy home for my Anna and in the back of my mind knowing that the poem that is my life, is being carefully orchestrated. Whether I want it too or not.
With love from Grand Haven,