With Summer coming to a close--at least in terms of "hiatus from our day jobs"--and the new school year commencing, I've had the topic of "beginnings and endings" swirling around my brain quite a bit lately. It started out related more or less to scheduling, when my semester of work kicked off and the boys jumped back into their daily academic routines. You know the thought process I'm talking about: "Uh-oh, beware the end of the R&R...and the beginning of the craziness" (Sigh...) One thing that was a little weird for me to contemplate is that this is Riley's final year in Elementary School, while Derek is finishing up Middle School. (Obviously, this wasn't too much of a surprise, since I had seen it coming...since forever. Nope, can't put anything past me!) But once I caught my breath for a moment (yeah, the kids must have already been gone for the day) it occurred to me that with our decision to uproot ourselves and re-plant in California in 2014, Team WestEnders will experience a whole plethora of beginnings and endings in the upcoming months.
In fact, the first such shock hit me when I realized that we just completed our last full Summer in Olney. Directly on the heels of that revelation, I recognized that this will be my last Fall semester at my current job. And speaking of Fall...the colorful season we're used to in the Mid-Atlantic region looks different on the Pacific Coast, I'm told. Therefore I plan to spend extra time admiring the trees, as the leaves change and then drift down to blanket the ground. (Although, Memo to Me: I will NOT miss raking those suckers...) Then there are certain occasions--special parts of our Family Traditions--that we just won't be able to participate in from afar. These range from the annual September Picnic/October Soiree/New Year's Bash/March Madness Fest hosted by various friends, to Thanksgiving and Christmas at my parents' house, to our own Holiday Shindig that we've been throwing for...well, let's just say "a boatload of years" and leave it at that. However, since I headed in that direction, If I'm being completely honest, I will so very much not in a million years never EVER miss...snow. (Or sleet. Pretty much any kind of freezing precipitation....or sub-zero temperatures...or numb hands and feet...Oh, you get the idea...)
And then there are the things that will constitute brand-new-to-me events. Such as (silly though it may seem) actually residing in a state other than Maryland (unless you count a brief stint in our nation's capital during graduate school...and I don't...) I've lived in different cities before our current one--Beltsville, Monrovia, Baltimore, Greenbelt, Silver Spring, Bethesda--just never across the border in one of our neighboring jurisdictions. (And as I always say, "If you're gonna go, go B-I-G!" Okay, okay, I've never said that before this moment...but it just might be my new motto....) On a related note, I'm ridiculously amused by the fact that I will have a non-Maryland driver's license for the first time in my decades behind the wheel...and new tags for the car. (Yes, I'm easily pleased. So what?) Of course, the lurking bugaboo behind all of this frivolity is that we will also have to (gulp) pack up a houseful of stuff. (Currently, I'm opting to blissfully drift in a cloud of Denial about this, convincing myself "pshaw, it'll be a breeze". After all, I'm an obsessive organizer/cleaner...outer...and "we don't have that much to worry about, anyway!" Yeah, we'll see how it goes...) Not to mention the whole "selling a home" issue, which Husband and I have never yet had to undertake. (I know, I know, "baby steps"...oh yeah, and let's not get ahead of ourselves!)
So the bottom line is, now that my conscious brain has gotten a wake-up call, regarding the limited amount of time remaining to us on the East Coast, I'm determined to notice and enjoy and appreciate every precious hour and every tiny detail of my loved ones, my friends, and my surroundings. The memories we continue to make during this year will be carefully tucked away, and considered some of our most cherished belongings, to bring with us as we travel west on our next adventure. Beginnings and ending...firsts and lasts...here's to a year full of priceless ones to share.