Today is Elizabeth's second day of school. She got on the bus yesterday morning full of excitement and possibility- beyond proud of her Hogwarts backpack and ready to see all that Second Grade would hold in store. As I walked to the car later that morning, my sweet neighbor (who has an only child herself and fully understands all that each landmark holds) asked me how I was doing. Funny enough, yesterday's new adventure seemed shadowed by the minutae of the morning: the baby pouring hot coffee down my pants, finding our dog had destroyed a bag of garbage all over our bedroom floor, realizing E's fish tank pump was broken.
I spent the remainder of the day tending to those crises of the morning, and trying to get my feet under me with a late afternoon bus, a fussy baby, and all that comes with Back to School life. So, to answer my neighbor, yesterday came and went without the heart pangs of realizing my baby is growing up too quickly and instead being grateful for her help.
This summer was a blur. We got started on "summer" so late thanks to the end of school chaos of responsibilities there, then heading straight into Vacation Bible School at our church. We lived up trips to Wild Goose, Wet and Wild, the beach, Camp of Kids, Merriwood, art camp, Oonie Koonie Cha, and reading book after book after book. So many things around our house got put on the back burner as I tried to be intentional about living in the moment with the girls and tried to be as present as I was able (minus a few interruptions of Netflix binges and Frozen Freefall.)
So today I find myself beginning the process of making a path. Those of you who know the events of our last few years understand that we have inherited lots of items from my Daddy's house, my Mom's house, and most recently my Grandparent's house. In the grief of shock of the Daddy's death, some of the things of his house got put away until I was able to deal with them. I had just gone through them when we brought in items from Mom's. Some days as I sorted through box after box, I just couldn't take it anymore. I would feel like I was drowning with the reality of losing both of my parents- and in those moments of drowning, I would often close the door to our garage and walk away from the task at hand. Add to that our tendency to tuck things away that need more attention than we could give... our storage room and our garage have become unbearable. From time to time we would stick things "out of the way" to deal with later.
This summer, I began making a path through my pain. With the help of good friends, good routine, good truth, good meds, and good intentions... I have set my mind on not just surviving this season of life, but thriving in it. I am trying to no longer just stick things "out of the way." Just like our garage, that is a process. I have pushed things to the side so often that there are lots of layers to sort through as my heart continues to heal.
And just like my heart, our garage has layers upon layers of stories. The chalkboard one of my grandparents used in school. My Mom's Day International water bottle. My Daddy's ash tray. Elizabeth's bike that is too small. My Grandmother's painting of The Last Supper. Extra water balloons from this summer's water balloon fight. With each memory I unpack, sort, purge, and process. Some pieces make me think of friends who could use that item better. This process not only becomes a practical "To Do" task, but a spiritual one as well as I pray for those people who are called to my mind.
I am far from done. But there is now I clear path- letting me know I can function in the days to come.