Saturday, October 4, 2014

Celebrate This Week - Living in the Present

I’m joining up with Ruth Ayres for her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week. Check out all of the posts linked up at her blog HERE. Thanks for starting this, Ruth!

This blog series each Saturday – looking for celebrations – is so important. On a week where the pressure piling up seems to be too much, when people tease me to stop volunteering for things because they know my plate is too full, when I think of everything I haven’t taught and not of what I have, I know I need to celebrate.

My students and I watched Kyle Maynard’s No Excuses video on Thursday. (I shared it in the last blog post HERE.) Towards the end of the video Kyle says that he was getting discouraged climbing the mountain because he kept looking up to see how far he had to go, instead of looking down to see how far he had come. With tears in his eyes, he looks at the camera and says he thinks he does that in life as well.

That comment got me. I know I do that. I bet a lot of us do.

I think that is why this weekly post is important. It is a chance for each person who writes to look down their own mountain. To realize how far they have come. At the start of a school year, especially this year, I need that.

Last night my oldest son, Luke, had his first middle school dance. Four of his friends came over to eat dinner and then head to the dance with him. I had a moment of panic when they all first arrived, realizing that in three years they will be going to Homecoming dances, and in seven years they will be in college. My breath caught in my throat. How has time moved this fast? How is it possible that I’ve had twelve years to be a mom, but in another twelve he will be on his own? I’m not ready. No part of me is ready for that.

And then, I took a breath, and realized I don’t have to be yet.

Often, it seems, I’m caught looking ahead – up that mountain – or even sometimes looking back with the feelings of nostalgia. What I need to work on is the present, to truly be present. It is pretty awesome, even if I – and every other parent out there – am overwhelmed with life. So I took a breath.

In breathing I could enjoy the realization that they aren’t grown yet – last night Nerf Wars were battled, gross discussions were had over pizza,  and I was reminded once again that they’re still kids.

Picking up these kids – my son and his friends – from the dance was awesome. As we drove home through the dark, they shared stories from the dance, who danced with who, who was too afraid to ask, and more. I smiled as I dropped kids at each house and my heart filled with gratitude. Being a mom to a middle school kid is pretty terrific. I love that they are still willing to confide in me, to ask for advice. I love that they have conversations with me about choices others make and question why. And I love that when his friends, these former students of mine, get in my car they still automatically tell me about what they are reading. I’m glad I wasn’t looking ahead or behind last night because the present is a pretty great time on its own.