Saturday, May 28, 2005

The party's over

Seventeen years of involvement with the local school system came to an end last night. My youngest child graduated from high school. It has been a fun ride. I've met many wonderful people -- teachers, parents, administrators, staff, students. Some I'll see around the community. There will be others whose path will never cross mine again. Either way, it won't be the same. My days as the parent of school-age children are over.

My older daughter asked me if I would still attend parent-teacher conferences. I said, "Sure, if I can find out when they are." That's been a standing joke over the years. The school sets aside a half day for parent-teacher conferences every year. However, communication between the high school and parents sometimes falters and I've missed a year or two simply because I didn't know when or how the conferences were being handled. In the years I've managed to make it, I've sought out the teachers of my children for conversation, but also chatted with anyone else I've encountered. Since my children have all done well in school, I've viewed the parent-teacher conference day as primarily a social opportunity -- a time set aside for informal exchange with the school staff about my kids and their kids and how things are going for all of us. Several of the teachers at the high school have children the same age as mine, giving us common ground whether or not they actually have one of mine in their classroom in any given year.

We had a party last night. I'm not good at parties. I suggested to my daughter that she find friends for a joint event and she did. It turned out to be a wonderful evening. In a small, rural community, many of the friends of the two friends she chose were at least acquaintances of our family, giving us a chance to visit with a broad spectrum of the community. We had a good setting, good help, good food through our joint effort, and a very pleasant evening.

I've heard that there's life after children and I'm looking forward to enjoying a new season of life. Still, as I stood in the school gym for the last time as the parent of a student and picked out all the familiar faces from among this community I've grown to love, I realized that, truly, I have been blessed.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Problem with Blogs

Yes, I know. It has been almost two months since I last added to my blog. It's not because I haven't had plenty to ponder. It's because those ponderings have revolved around relationships and situations involving other people. Sharing my private thoughts in a public forum is one thing. Sharing my private thoughts about other people and what they're doing is something else entirely. Writing in ways that only refer to those situations obliquely seems a waste when I need to make hard choices and deal with things directly. So I've taken time out to deal with some of what's been happening.

You know, relationships are worth it: Worth putting my blog on hold; worth dealing with stress; worth working at; worth all the trouble. I hope to emerge from this time with my most valued relationships stronger than ever. I'm still working at that.