Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Journey

Today my son is leaving for Italy. The trip we thought would never arrive is finally here. The last few days flew by in a flurry of activity, and all the while, Michael’s excitement continued to grow.

Yesterday afternoon, as I closed his suitcase after putting in the last few items, I thought back about all the work of the past few days – clothes shopping, haircut, last minute gifts to send to grandparents – and all the surface stress that went with it. We lost keys, missed swim practice sessions for my daughter, forgot items we needed, and we constantly felt we were running out of time.

Preparing for a long trip is not too different than preparing for a new chapter in life – you work, work, and then work some more, and you feel that you are never going to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then, suddenly, things seem to slow down, activity ceases, and the rush of adrenaline settles. Everything – or mostly everything, at least – is in place and it is time to recharge as we wait for changes to come.

Last night felt like that. We had been running around for so long that our pace became naturally accelerated. Slowing down felt strange and gave us a feeling of leaving something undone; yet, all the ties were pulled and secured in a knot. Once all the hard work was in place, it was time to take a step back, assess what we have accomplished and finally relax.

We grilled steaks – one of Michael’s favorite meals – and sat around on the deck talking about all the cool things he’s going to see and all the fun he is going to have. Today is going to be a long day for him, but a very exciting one all the same. He is flying to New York, and then directly to Italy, all alone for the first time. For him, this is a trial by fear, but one he is eager to take. Overcoming his fears of traveling alone feels, to him, like a badge of honor he will finally get to wear, one which will identify him as a young adult. And, the prize at the end of the race is way sweet – with grandparents eager to embrace the role of “serial spoilers” Michael already knows he is in for the treat of his life.

We typically become stressed whenever we prepare for something new, afraid to mess it up somehow, or to forget something important. Our energy gets sucked away, much like ocean water receding into the depths only to come back tenfold in the impetus of a large wave. It’s almost as if the energy we seem to throw around is needed to pack the punch before whatever is coming can make its grand entrance into our lives.

I try to think of this any time my own life seems to slow down, or all my hard work appears scattered to the four winds. None of the energy is really lost or useless, and it will all pay off in the end. For Michael pay day is today.

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