All my Beginners are gone

It is most certainly the end of the beginning.

I don’t have a Beginner anymore. And I no longer have both children in the Morse Building, where the very youngest children are. Sob. Gracie moves up to 2nd grade in September, for which I have to drop her off at the gate. And Whit goes to kindergarten. How is this possible?

Last night Whit decided he wanted to write a note to his beloved teacher. He told me what he wanted to write, I dictated the letters for each word, and he wrote them. Spidery, and all over the page, but legible. He wrote: “Christina. Teddy (her dog). I love u. Whit.”

This morning at the closing ceremony we clapped for all of the Morse Building teachers, as the principal called them each by name, and my eyes of course welled up with tears. I feel such intense gratitude towards these people who have taken such great care of my children, whose love and attention and wisdom and intelligence has so wildly benefited Grace and Whit.

And then I really lost it when Grace’s class sang the song that the 1st grade sings every year at the closing ceremonies. It’s about how it is “time to go” and I just sat there, camera in my lap, unable to take pictures because I was unabashedly crying. I could see Grace watching me, aware of my tears, and she gave me a small wave once their song was over. Once again, my daughter taking care of me. Oh, she should not have to be the grown-up. At least not yet. I thought about last year, when at this same ceremony she held my hand walking out and whispered to me, “Mummy, your sunglasses aren’t fooling anyone.”

I feel as though the ferris wheel of life has turned another revolution, and it is spinning so fast I can’t quite catch my breath. I am aware that the days that Grace and Whit will want to hold my hand tightly on this ride are numbered. And that makes me ache. Ache for all the squandered hours, for the nights that slipped away in a blur of Star Wars and Harry Potter without my really truly appreciating them. Ache for the drop-offs that I didn’t cherish, ache for the hundreds of mornings that the children trailed me into Starbucks and stood with me in line, ache for the hug and kiss that Grace gave me each morning before vanishing into her classroom, ache for Whit squirming in my arms as I tried to get him to read the “morning message” with me. Ache for the red folder of work that Grace brought home every Sunday which I sometimes only cursorily glanced through. Ache for the Sundays that I didn’t take the time to help Whit pick an item for the “letter of the week” (though I remain proud of the ice cube in a ziploc he brought in for “I,” which hung, a forlorn baggie of water, all week on the wall).

All those days are gone now.

All my Beginners are gone now.

16 thoughts on “All my Beginners are gone”

  1. All I know to say is that the time just grows sweeter and there is ever more to be proud of. Be gentle with yourself during all this transition. But keep faith that the future holds even richer moments, because it does.

  2. Someone just reminded me of the quote, “the days are long and the years short”.

    “The ferris wheel of life has turned another revolution.” Quickly. And slowly. Yes. So true. xxoo

  3. the ache you describe is so familiar. i feel it daily. and i too am a bit saturated these days with endings emotions (for me, work and home transitions). you are not alone. please know that i am reaching out across this online space to be present with you as the inevitable tides of change move us. hopefully, together in spirit, we can dance these currents with grace.

  4. “All my beginners” I love this phrase.

    And it makes me think about my beginners: She was recently a beginning driver, he beginning to help in neighbors fields alone.

    I am finding that there are beginnings over and over, and though my daughter will start her senior year in high school this fall, she will be a beginner in the big world of life.

    She will always look to me to see if I am crying and touched by how she lives her life.

    Yes. I will be. Sunglasses or not.

  5. Lindsey, I haven’t commented in some time but I sure have been reading. I see your tweets and posts and I feel it too.

    For us, 2nd grade is almost over and my daughter is huge now, practically grown 🙂 I think about next year and the seriousness that will ensue: Letter grades and EOGs. I can’t help but feel sad remembering back to when she was in Kindergarten and I had new life growing in my belly and we were chock-full of beginnings.

  6. Somewhere I have something to type up for you. I read it after we Tweeted about endings and beginnings and I made a note to send it to you. All I have to do is remember where a) the note is and b) the reading was. I’ll email it as soon as I find it.

    In the meantime, Sweet and Bitter. Remember, every moment is lovely. Gr 2 and Kindergarten, Gr 6 and College… they will all have moment and be just as sweet – just not the same moments – I promise…


  7. Look forward, my friend, to all the wonder that still awaits you with your beauitiful children. And remember that with every new beginning comes the opportunity for amazing things. That’s what really matters.


  8. I know, acutely, what you’re feeling. I tell people that right now I am the sunshine in my children’s world. I am their light and they bask in it. But I know this time is almost finished, and I’m already missing the easiness and the fierceness with which they love me.

    I know they’ll always love me (when they’re not hating me) but I won’t always be the brightest star in their universe.

    I keep telling myself that with every lost sweetness comes a new pleasure to savour.

    I so look forward to being their friend when they grow up.

  9. This post is yet another example of what a great mother you are. Believe that, okay? Because I’d like to believe that NO time is really squandered.

    We alcoholics say “progress, not perfection.” And if I really really sit with myself and ask myself hard questions, I see that I struggle so much to think I’m getting it “right” because I expect perfection. I expect to be constantly present and cherishing every fleeting moment. But we can’t. We’re only human and there are sooooo many minutes in our days. We can make progress. We can live each moment rather than thinking of past or future and we won’t be very good at it at first, but we can practice. Because in each new moment we have the chance to start over and to do the right thing in our eyes, what our gut tells us is the right thing.

    And since we’re on a spiritual journey, this means that every morning, we start our spiritual journey fresh. It’s not a continuation, it’s everyday renewal, another chance, another choice, freedom to change or not.

    I’m writing a really long comment and now I shall stop.

    Love you.

  10. “All my beginners are gone.” Must you always make me cry?
    I so understand this sweet sadness, as beginnings end, making way for the inevitable growth, the kind we wish for, and simultaneously wish we could stop.

  11. Lindsey, this post reminds me of something that Gretchen Rubin writes repeatedly in “The Happiness Project”:

    “The days are long, but the years are short.”

    What a lovely reminder of that truth you have posted here. Thanks for sharing these moments with us.

  12. I’ve been reflecting on your post (which I loved) all day.

    Tonight, as I was putting both kids into the bath/shower, and starting a load of laundry, and while my spinach salad wilted (and my glass of red warmed), I suddenly needed to dash to the computer to comment again.

    One of my largest areas of conflict as a mother is my inherent guilt that I do not enjoy each trip to Starbucks, or each rummage through the homework folder. I expected to feel…I don’t know what. Joy, elation, kindred sparks during each moment, and each phase of my children. Definitely not an original thought (thousands of mothers before me have expressed this exact conundrum), but one I have a lot. I would like to think that I would enjoy the moments that ARE enjoyable more if I weren’t lambasting myself for the emotions I experience when the days are less than stellar. That I would enjoy the ferris wheel’s revolutions MORE if I gave myself permission to feel what I felt, warts, anxiety and all.

    That said, the endings always make me mushy. Emotive. Raw. I think the endings come so we can stop to enjoy the enjoyable. They make me want to enjoy the journey more. I commend you for respecting this momentous occasion, the maturation of your children, with your honest reflections. As always, thought provoking. Sending love. xo

  13. I “ditto” BigLittleWolf’s comment.

    There are many “beginnings” ahead, still. To savor each one, even as our children someday move up and away from us, and back again, is part of the revolutions on the ferris wheel…

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