It was raining. But all I could see was her smiling face. I didn’t feel the drops falling on my work blouse. I didn’t worry about the curly hair on my head it was creating. I didn’t fret about not finding my umbrella. Her smile kept me quite unaware. My first-born daughter was about to walk up the old stone stairways to her brand new high school and instead of weeping in worry I was singularly focused on her bright smile keeping me in this moment where she felt happy and excited – and so too, did I.
I have written several back-to-school posts over these years of raising my school-age children post-divorce. I have ruminated on several themes that back to school brings forward. This year it feels deeper. Maybe it’s the high school milestone, or that my daughters will not attend school together anymore, or that their independence is expanding faster than I can keep up. But this year it is more than just a change from summer to fall, from slow-paced to busy. This year I am observing more than most years this unstoppable path.
On the eve before Anna’s big day I prepared a card for her with my heartfelt wishes for her this year and tucked it next to the mirror in her bathroom for her to read the following morning. The sentiment from the outside of the card read “It is important to remember that the beginning can be anywhere along the way. Your story will have many chapters – maybe volumes, each a chance to begin.” I wrote to her that this day would be a start, a continuance, and an end of all beautiful parts of her life.
Our paths may seem straight but a detour can suddenly curve around and meet back to the original path and link to a place we had already journeyed. Our lives are not straight lines. Beginnings and ends are often temporary.
When divorcing or in litigation, our focus is typically on the end. Our marriage is over, we want the case to be done, and with so much change – the “last times” come pouring in. With the flood of endings, we lose our perspective. We lose our hope.
Now, years after my divorce I can see the circular parts of my path. I have a greater capacity to reflect on the knowing that my path will hold surprises and connections between past, present and future that I cannot see now, but will. I see that my divorce was a start, a continuance, and an end of all beautiful parts of my life.