When Rachel turned one, I wanted to make cupcakes for her family birthday party that we were having. Sean was outside working around the house and when he came inside, I was in tears. I apparently did not let the cupcakes cool long enough so when I tried to decorate them, the icing began to melt. They weren’t the pretty cupcakes I wanted for my milestone moment. Since then, my family has termed that a ‘Cupcake Moment’. If I am ever having a sad milestone moment, I get asked, “ Are you having a cupcake moment?”
In two days, we take our Rachel back to school. You’d think with her going into her third year that it would be easier. You’d expect less and less heartache for myself, for Sean and for Callum. You’d expect a simple, joyful goodbye. Nope. I will be the first to admit that although we are excited for her return to school, to regain her independence, and to begin a whole new year of learning everything she is interested in – we also love having her home and that initial ‘saying good-bye’ is a cupcake moment.
Then, a week later, Callum starts his final year of high school. A senior. At the time of writing this, we are unsure if it will be remote learning or in-person learning, but however it may be… his final school year is beginning. A year full of university applications, final set of high school exams, graduation, and prom. I think a dagger just pierced my heart and yet again…a cupcake moment .
I find these milestones really mess with my emotions. I think what I am struggling the most with (this year) is the lack of normalcy for them. Yes, Rachel will be in her house with her room-mates and hopefully parts of the campus will be open and yes, Callum still gets to hang out with his friends, but this lack of normalcy is wrecking havoc on my heart.
Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments – Rose Kennedy
My Brain Is A Goulash of Questions…..
- How will the university campus be?
- Will the library be open?
- Will the campus gym be open?
- Will winter term be normal?
- Will class and graduation pictures be taken?
- If high school is on-line, how will the first day go?
- How will the university application process be held if in-person contact is not existent?
- Will there be a high school graduation?
- Will there be a prom?
I know most of these questions I really shouldn’t think about or rather why am I thinking about these? Again, it comes down to their normalcy being taken away from them. It comes down with the lack of control I have on making sure they have a normal year. (By the way… I do have control issues). My purpose in life is to be the best darn mom I can be and all I want to do is make their school year the best possible year.
You may be asking yourself – Why is she writing about this? Where did her upbeat, encouraging messages go?
If I am feeling this way, I would bet your bottom dollar that someone else is too.
And, it’s ok. It’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to want your child’s school year to be the best it possibly can. It’s ok to be confused. Like I wrote in my How to Send Your Child Off to School and Survive blog – I will survive. I know I will be ok. I know whatever I want for my child may be out of my control. I know I may not have all the answers and I know whatever life hits them with, they will be ok.
Both Rachel and Callum will have the best year that they can possibly have. Are these inconveniences of the lack of normalcy going to hurt them? No, they are both incredibly smart and learning on-line, fortunately for them, is a breeze. When I asked them what they are looking most forward to about returning to school, neither of them stated classes or the work involved (well, Rachel is excited about a few of her classes), but both were extremely excited about seeing their friends. You see, you can learn anywhere – in person, on line, or in a book, but we as people, need social interaction. We were created to be social beings. Even God gave Adam a partner (Eve) so he wouldn’t have to be alone.
What I am learning, or rather I should say, what have I learned from my kids, is that normalcy doesn’t have to be the same. Normalcy doesn’t have to be a cookie cutter pattern that the world lays out for us. It can make you lose sight of all the great things that surround you. Normalcy is a state of being – a state of mind– that you create for yourself. For them, normalcy is being with their friends. All the other stuff just falls into place. As long as they are amongst their peers, day to day living feels just normal to them.
Normalcy is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grown on it – Vincent van Gogh
I think as adults, as parents, we tend to over think aspects of life. We try to control all areas to fit perfectly within the ‘normalcy’ box. All checkmarks checked off. Well, at least I do. I think we can learn a lot from our children about not over thinking life. Just take one day at a time. Savour every moment. Don’t be so serious all the time. Be with your loved ones. And laugh a lot.
That is definitely one thing my two angels do. They laugh a lot. We laugh a lot as a family.
So, if you are heading into some milestone ‘Cupcake’ moments like sending a child off to university, or their senior year of high school, or kindergarten, or grade eight, or even daycare for the first time…. Remember to take a lesson from your children. Savour each moment and fill those days with laughter. That’s what I’ll be doing as I pack up Rachel’s luggage and send her off to school and embark on Callum’s senior year at high school. We will be experiencing laughter every step of the way.
A day without laughter is a day wasted – Charlie Chaplin