This morning, I got up early and instead of my usual muse, I began the preparations.
It is the first day of my last child's last year of high school.
Back-to-school pancakes are a tradition, so I gathered ingredients while she and my husband grabbed a few extra snoozes. This one, my second daughter, last child, is very precise about when she wanted to leave - 7:00am.
I whisked together the butter and sugar and vanilla, added the milk and eggs, then the flour mixture, each turn of. my wrist, thinking of it being the last. Blueberries and strawberries were washed and put in a glass bowl, her favorite turkey bacon in the griller, water boiling for coffee, eggs seasoned and whipped for scrambling, Monday light streaming in the window, life beginning.
Life, every day, beginning.
As I poured batter on the hot griddle, those perfect little rounds keeping company with each other, I could hear her upstairs, stirring and gathering. What was she thinking? I flipped pancakes, set the table, poured orange juice, watching the clock so they would have time to eat. We never really get inside the beings of these beings we raised to their emerging.
When the final pancake was in the warmer and the table was set, I called them in. We celebrated the moment, blessed the day, and from first bite to the last, tasted love.
In savoring what is, I looked forward to what could become.
I know the world is raging around us, crisis looming, just seeing news of another variant forming, hearing of the hurricane aftermath, worrying about my older daughter in the after-storm-path, thinking about what is waiting for me on the other side of Wednesday, a lot can swirl around in the air that can free us or freeze us.
Watching my youngest daughter embrace this year, not where she wanted to be, having a moment during summer break when she lamented what the virus stole, what being several states away from her friends took away, and what she expected her senior year to be to accepting what beauty awaits her, I realized how it is a choice.
Every day is a gift and choosing how we enter it is a promise we make to ourselves.
Forward, motion forward, embracing what could be like the notes waiting to be written in those brand new notebooks with the as-yet-unsharpened pencils, what we write can transform us, if we let it.
My oldest son and youngest daughter are the bookends of my last almost thirty five years. Years of making every decision for what is best for five individuals I've been privileged to nurture to their becoming. I chose their possible.
A few years from now, we will look back to these days, the pandemic days of virtual school and masks, vaccines and distancing, and consider our decisions. For me, I chose life and ways to make it joyous. I choose pause and I choose what can be.
The pancakes were finished and the pictures were taken to commemorate, then out-the-door they went. My husband has his first in-person class day for his campus and my daughter has her first in-person day at her new school. They wrapped up their hopes in the checked list of all the preparations - vaccines, masks, Covid card - and decided on being present.
I watched them drive down the street, thinking about all the others in this world who are waking up to a day of - day of whatever comes, day of anyway, anyhow, anywhere, still choosing this life, moving - forward. Because we dream.