Life is made of certain, definitive, universal--well, universal in many cultures-- milestones. Most of us have passed through these and moved on and yet, even then, continue to mark them in new ways from time to time.
Many of my readers know that we raised 4 kids and shooed them out of the nest decades ago. We loved each of them but were not unhappy empty nesters--we had lifes to live and dreams to reach. For me some of these were professional--a chance to realize skills that hadn't been tested and yet were bubbling away inside. And then there was the need to explore cultures and countries that had only been known inside the pages of National Geographic and dreams. There was a need for freedom.
Now we have returned to celebrating milestones that were once ours, then our childrens and now Casey's. Because years seperate us from Casey, there are times when we need to remind ourselves that these are precious years for him and our job is to validate them, not minimize them--knowing, in our adult vantage point, that there are much bigger things to come. For Casey, these days are as big as they get, forming memories that will travel life with him.
So...yesterday was one of these times. Casey was promoted (he takes great pains to tell us NOT graduated--that happens at the end of high school!) from elementary school. Today he is a middle schooler--a 6th grader. He is ready to adopt a new maturity, begin the separation process. He is scared and, I must admit, so am I. He is afraid of independence. I am afraid of losing the boy who hugs in public and holds hands walking down the street.
Tomorrow he takes his first beach trip with the middle school department at church. They leave at 3 and won't be back until 9. It'll be a whole new type of interaction for him--a first step into adolescent relationships and independence. I have encouraged him in this but wonder where it leads and how fast it will take.
My biggest hope is that he takes us with him on this ride--that rather than growing apart new ways of sharing and bonding accompany us into the coming school years and finally into the magic transition called adulthood. In my depths, I do believe that is our future.
God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.