Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Making the transition

Photo by Iva Floyd @ This Side of Perfect

I've had the chance to read quite a few books this summer. Despite the fact that I start student teaching Monday (!!!), I went to the library and grabbed three more reads. In the past, I've read one at a time, but I told The Man Beast that this time, I'm reading at least two at the same time. One is in the living room by my recliner and one is by my bed, ready for me to pick it up when I read at night before I go to sleep. He doesn't understand how I can do it. "I'd get all my characters mixed up."

I find reading two books at a time relatively easy. It usually takes me a page to "remember" which story I'm in and from there, I follow along easy as a can be.

I can do this, I think, because as a mom, I'm a multi-tasker by heart. (The only thing I cannot multi-task is cooking with anything. Apparently, it takes every ounce of my being to prepare a palatable meal.) For most everything else, however, I've got it pretty much in the bag.

While I admit I am getting a little rusty as I get older, for the most part, I have everyone's schedules memorized. Yes, I write them down on the family calendar (and plug them into my iPhone - how did we ever live with "dumb phones"?) But, every morning, I look on the calendar to see what I've got going on.

School has just started - and so will everything else. It is organized chaos, as a fellow blogger said (although she was talking about her classroom).

This year we have made a huge transition. The Boy is now a freshman in high school and Baby Girl is in middle school. (In fact, I don't think the term "Baby Girl" is applicable anymore. I'm open to some suggestions on what I can call her on my blog.)

This particular transition has been difficult for me. I've chalked it up to the fact that I don't currently have a job to keep my mind off all the changes. But job or not, my family has entered a new chapter in our lives.

I've described life as a roller coaster and as a wave in the past. Both accurate descriptions. But I think those just describe the little things; the little big things. Instead, I think the best description for life - the whole shabang - is a book. Each phase in your life is a chapter. And just like in a book, some chapters are less "fun" than others.

This is my new chapter and I'm having a hard time with it. When you're in the throes of Baby Boot Camp - that is, the first three years of your child's life - you're sleep deprived, frustrated and lost. People reassure the new parents that this doesn't last forever and it will get better.

Skip to the end of the Parenting Life Book and you hear about the empty nesters. Those who woke up one day and discovered that all of the craziness of life that they might have complained about is gone because their children have left the nest to set out on new adventures of their own. Once again, these parents are lost.

But those of us who are in the middle have a little mix of both. Suddenly, when our kids start dating, we find ourselves sleep deprived as wait for our teens to get home from various outings. We are frustrated because as our children go through various hormonal changes - attempting to figure out who they are - we wonder the same thing. We are lost because we're not sure what role we play in our teens' lives. We know they aren't old enough for them to be our friend. They also aren't young enough to need our constant guidance. But we also are wise enough to know that we can't just "let them go" because while they don't need the same guidance they needed as toddlers and young children, they do need guidance.

This is where the Man Beast and I are currently. We are trying to find that perfect balance - giving the kids space while at the same time, giving them guidance; that last ditch effort before they leave the nest.

On a positive note, TMB and I are excited to see the kids continuously making discoveries about who they are. While I don't always like or agree with what comes out of the Boy's mouth, I'm glad he's voicing his opinion. Baby Girl is becoming more vocal and voicing her thoughts (which are very logical and continue to blow me away).

Live at the speed of life. 
-Tom Dooley

 While this particular chapter of my life is more difficult for me than I would have imagined, I am trying to take it day by day. I'm learning to embrace the everyday and cherish it. All of it. The good moments. The bad moments. The I-want-to-pull-my-hair-out moments.

Because when you think about it, it is the overall story - not the chapters - that makes a book great.

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