Ah, good old perspective

It’s officially the first day of school. I was anticipating an emotional rollercoaster kind of day, because this year my baby officially started high school. I’ve spent the last 9 years with at least one child in primary school, and our routine was well established. And then, just like that, it was over and my two little (!) loves had left the house, lunches in hand.

When they walked out the door with their dad (he takes them to school in the morning), I felt like I was watching a film in slow motion. I stood in the doorway to wave at them, to watch them drive off, and despite my good mood and my smile, inside I didn’t feel that great. I was falling.

Once they had driven away, I noticed that all the neighbourhood families with primary school-aged kids were walking to school, ready for the first day and meeting new friends and teachers in the school yard.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was happy for all these students! Starting the school year in the sunshine, with an outdoor celebration… it’s a back-to-school tradition.

The kids and families made their way past, and suddenly I didn’t feel like watching anymore. Despite the sunny morning, I felt a storm coming. I closed the door and sat down at my desk in the dining room (aka, our dining room table), in the silence.

I hadn’t heard this kind of silence in months. Complete calm.

What would I do all day, alone?

I felt destabilized.

I was walking a new path, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like it.

Suddenly, I regretted my decision not to go along for the ride to school.

I felt left out as a parent, because I wasn’t walking to the primary school with the other families.

Even with the sun glinting off the corner of the table, all I could see was clouds and I could hear the roll of far-off thunder.

And then the storm came.

I cried. A lot.

Once the storm had passed, I gathered myself, took a deep breath, and chose to make my way down this new path, one step at a time.

To take my mind off my own issues, I decided to send a quick note to my collaborator Catherine, whose daughter was starting kindergarten. Another new era. She told me about her back-to-school moment, and I shared mine. Even though I was feeling vulnerable and worried about her reaction (I’m sensitive, and even today, I always worry about what other people will think. I’m working on it, but it’s a process), I told her the whole story.

And Catherine told me:

“Oh, Jaime, you’re not left out, you’re just a mom with a little more experience, that’s all!”

She was right, of course. Her words reminded me that sometimes, in life, everything is a question of perspective. That sometimes you have to back up so you can go forward, you have to breathe out to breathe in, and sometimes you need to fall down so you can get back up again.

That’s exactly what happened on back-to-school Tuesday.

Yes, I’m charting a new path, and yes, it’s a major change in my life. Instead of dwelling on the negative, though, I have to concentrate on the positive, on new achievements, progress and all the wonderful things that the past few years have brought me.

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Good old perspective. Sometimes, by changing our viewpoint, we see a situation vastly differently.

I’m trying to #FindMyNewWellBeing (because I don’t like the word balance). I haven’t quite found it yet, but this reality check is certainly a step in the right direction.

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