Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Post Empty Nest Syndrome

God, I hate June.

I hate it.

I wait all winter for the warm weather, grumbling and growling through every snowstorm and every icy morning.   I bemoan the short days of winter, yearning with all my heart for the late evening sunsets of the warmer months.

But I hate June.

I love the first barbecue of the year, and the smell of smoke that lingers in my clothes and hair.  I love the fireflies and the butterflies.  I love the gorgeous bursting colors of the rhododendron and azalea, and the heady perfume of the peonies.   I even love to mow the new grass, breathing deep as the fresh clean smell of it surrounds me.

But June?

I just hate June.

June reminds me that my nest is now empty, and all of my fledglings have flown.  June brings back the deeply aching sadness that comes with letting go of children you really love.

When my own three children moved out, I thought about them every single night.   The same thing happens those first weeks of summer vacation, after I have said goodbye to my class.

When my  home nest first emptied, I heard the “ghost voices” of my children, telling those familiar jokes, sharing those familiar stories.  The same thing happens to me each summer.

As a mother, I knew that my children had to grow up and move on.  I knew the day that I gave birth to each of them that I would only hold onto them for a while, that if I did my job well, they would be ready to venture out on their own.

As a teacher, I know each September that I am only borrowing these little ones for a very brief time.  I know as I learn their nicknames that in a few short months, if I do my job well, they will be ready to enter the next grade.

As a mother, I knew that I had to love them deeply but not possessively; to hold your child back is always wrong.  To let him go, wrapped in your love, is always the right thing to do.

As a teacher, I know that I have to love them in order to reach them, but I also understand that they are only supposed to love me from September to June.  To send them off, independent and confident, is always a teacher’s goal.

So I hate the month of June.  The month of goodbyes and thank you’s and “I will visit you next year”s, when I know that if I have actually done a good job, and if all goes well, these children who I love so well will come to see me the first week of school, but will then slip seamlessly into the life of their new classroom, their time in my care fading to a hopefully happy memory.

June breaks my heart.  Every single year.

June reminds me that all of my nests are empty now.

Jeez, I really hate June.


I know a girl

I know a girl who is very, very strong.

Her opinions come bursting out of her before she even recognizes their formation.

I know a girl who is incredibly smart.  She solves most math problems before I finish asking them.  She sees connections in literature that would amaze some college professors.   She remembers the history facts and understands why they are important.  Her mind is sharp and quick and filled with sparks.   She shines.

I know a girl who is confident and sure.  She walks with grace, her eyes open, her head raised.  She likes herself and she is ready for the world.

I know a girl, a very young girl, who does not suffer fools.   She is quick to correct, ready to help, eager to fix.  She puts herself right out there when there is a problem to be solved; she will not watch quietly while others stumble and search.  She will reach out her strong and able hand, and she will make things right.

I know a girl, a little child, who is beginning to feel her power and who is unsure of how to celebrate its force.

Sometimes her actions are too swift, her movements too certain; other girls may feel diminished by her sureness.

Sometimes her judgements feel a little harsh.  She will tell you if you are acting like a fool.

I know a girl who has hair of gilded copper, and delicate skin so fair that her slightest hesitation floods her cheeks with flame.

I know this girl.   I know that she wants to nurture those who seem more fragile.  I know that she wants to fix the problems, save the day, grab the glory, bask in the praise.

I know her pretty well.  I know that her heart is proud but gentle; she wants to have your praise, but she wants to have earned it with her tender care of others.

I know this girl.

She keeps me awake at night.

How do I help her to relish her gifts without worrying that she is vain?  How do I teach her to see that her boldness is courage, not pride?  To value her assertiveness without worrying that she is too forceful?

I know this girl.   I want her to look in her mirror and see a warrior, not a bitch.  I want her to keep on fixing what is broken, calling herself clever, not pushy.  I want to help her to understand that she doesn’t need to be beloved by anyone other than herself.  To know that she can be admired without worrying that she is being seen as too aggressive.

I know a girl.

She may very well become one of the world’s great leaders. If only I can help her to see herself as she really is, and not through the prism of her gender.

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