When I think about the last nine years and what will come next, it feels like the tides changing at Crane’s beach. One minute the water is right there, so close, touching your toes, dancing and swirling before receding back. You scramble to save the sand toys from going out to sea and quickly haul your gear several yards back. Then a few hours pass and it’s gone—the water barely visible in the distance, gone away, and all is calm.
The letter came yesterday. A flimsy xerox copy of a letter addressed to the Guardians of Hadley Stiles Spater, indicating that she has been accepted to one of the two five-day kindergarten classes in September at Steward School. It was what we wanted…after all, she will be six in October and as much as I hate to let her go, she is ready. I knew 2012 would be a year of change, and for awhile I thought my uneasiness was because I am turning 40 in just a few weeks. I know now it’s not about 40. It’s about my last little one leaving the nest. It’s the nest that I never thought would ever be neat again, would never be decorated nicely, and would never feel calm. For nine years, someone has always stayed to close to my wings, needing me for most of a day.
Five years have come and gone in the blink of an eye. I can’t say that I would change a thing, except to have lived a little more in the moment. We are entering the golden years of parenthood: the time when they are all still young but not yet (gulp) teenagers. We will travel more, share more, laugh more, and live more. I can’t wait!