Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Monday Musing: Penultimates

Spring is supposed to be the time of  beginning, a time of newness, yet I find myself looking at lasts. Last week, for example, the Catbird performed in the high school’s spring concert, which is the last official performance for that group for the year. Both band and chorus directors acknowledged the seniors in their respective groups. As the seniors in the chorus took their bows, I had one of those ‘flash forward’ kind of moments: “Damn,” I thought. “Next year, that’s the Catbird.”

Yesterday, the Catbird went to a graduation party. After dropping her off I went to the supermarket, where I ran into the mother of one of Catbird’s classmates. Naturally, we got to talking about the whole end-of-year thing, and the whole I-can’t-believe-our-kids-are-going-to-be-seniors thing and all that. I’m going to be having these conversations a lot, and I don’t think they’re going to get any easier. As we talked about how difficult it was going to be to send our children off to college, I thought, “At least you’ve got one more coming up; this one’s my last!” I’m not trying to suggest sending your first kid off to the great unknown of college is any less…painful…than sending your last, but there’s definitely a bigger sense of something closing down, of reaching the end of a particular stage of my own life. When the Magpie went off to college for the first time 2-1/2 years ago (!), my wife and I put one foot in a new, undiscovered world. We entered a transition zone of some kind, a zone with a very foggy landscape. Just about a year from now the Catbird is going to wrap up her last day of school, and we’re going to put both feet firmly in the land of part-time parents, where the house will be empty, and there won’t be the headaches of trying to figure out when those cross country meets are, or how we’re going to get this one there and that one here at the same time. I will miss it.

But…it goes on, for now, and in the coming weeks, when we’re tearing our hair out trying to work out the logistics of four people, four schedules, one car, I’ll try to remember that it’s coming to an end, and I’ll try to enjoy it.

6 Responses

  1. And this time of your life is exactly why you want to have been taking the time to make sure you and your spouse still like each other. You're going to have so much more together time. 😀

  2. Yep. I only have one child, but he'll be a senior next year. I'm feeling those pangs of loss already. I sort of mourned his childhood being over when he became a teenager, but next year he'll be off to college and I'll be an empty nester. It's hard letting go.

  3. Yes, enjoy it. And listen to Donna up there. Make sure you and your wife still like each other by doing stuff together now. It's been 11 years since my youngest graduated HS. I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I wasn't still friends with my hubby!

  4. Thank you, everyone. Donna, you raise a great point–I think we're okay on that score! It will be strange, because we had less than a year of child-free living when we first got married, so there's almost always been a kid in the house.

    L.G., I guess the thing to remember is to enjoy him at home now!

    Stacy–great idea, start transitioning now.

    Thanks, Sheena-kay and Jemi.

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