Parenting,  Personal Writing

A season to remember

My beloved boy is home for a week. I haven’t seen him since Christmas. That’s not that unusual, except that Covid-19 and the fact that he lives in Los Angeles has added an extra layer of stress to him being so far away. I was overjoyed to lay eyes on him when we picked him up from the airport last week, to be sure.

Having him home got me thinking about a piece I wrote the spring he graduated from high school—a year I was sure would lead to me shriveling up and dying the day I dropped him off at college in the fall. Clearly, that didn’t happen. In fact, what I predicted has come true—there have been other fabulous seasons since then, but that particular spring is now just a lovely memory and won’t be repeated again.

When I came across it this morning, I thought I would share since we are all living in such uncertain times right now and either feeling removed and isolated from our children or terrified of sending them out of the nest in the fall, an absolutely fair fear.

I hope it helps. I also hope if your kids live far away, that you get to be with them soon—what a difference it makes to be in person! ❤️

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2014 issue of Inspired Home magazine.

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth and promise. The days are longer, the snow is melting and we finally have proof that winter will not last forever.

I have always loved spring. I love the first notice of tiny buds emerging from the seemingly dead twigs and branches. I relish the first glimpse of tulips making their way out of the ground. I celebrate going outside and not feeling like my lungs have frozen solid in one, single breath. The birds are back, the sun is warm and the grass is making its way to green.

But this spring, amidst all the promise and splendor, there’s also a weight in my heart. My beloved boy is graduating from high school and making his plans to attend college far away from home.

This spring, while I celebrate with him his accomplishments and his anticipation, I also mourn the end of a glorious 18-year summer. I have both spring and autumn in my heart this season.

I am so delighted that he has reached this important milestone with confidence and success, but I can’t believe how these years have flown. Like the end of summer, I am left wondering where the time has gone. Did we enjoy the season enough? Did we appreciate how beautiful it was? Did we take it for granted, as if winter would never come again? Did we waste the time we had?

I don’t think we did. I can look back on this long summer called parenting and recall hundreds of wonderful memories—time spent together, adventures taken, conversations had, movies watched, bike rides, cooking, driving and more together. 

We had many springs in these years: first day of school, fist time away from home, first time driving by himself, first dates and more. We did enjoy our spring and summer; we did know each was special. We just didn’t know it would go so fast.

This spring, I am preparing our yard, opening our windows, planting my gardens and getting out the grill, but I am trying also to stop and really take it all in. Spring is a short season, and the metaphor for many of the stages of life shouldn’t be missed. 

There will be many springs to come, and life will evolve into other beautiful summers, but this spring, this very spring, will never come again. This renewal will bring a new type of life and a specific, painful kind of loss. So much anticipation, so much pent up energy from the long winter past, so much forward motion. This will be my favorite and saddest spring.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.


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