For the first year, since kindergarten, that I have not been with Kelton, either being a stay at home mom or teaching at the same school that he attended. I have missed that experience greatly. I took for granted talking to him on the drive to and from school. I miss seeing his face around the school, sometimes stopping in to give me a hug (as long as other people weren’t around, because that is embarrassing.) I remember fondly being his 2nd grade teacher, then moving on to teach his class Spanish (even though he really wanted to learn German.) I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed just knowing we were near each other.
A few weeks ago, I took the morning off from work to attend Kelton’s school performance. Their grade was showing their year long learning of US History with a collection of song, dance and speaking parts. The entire production was adorable and very well done. Seeing Kelton in action, in that setting, brought a flood of bittersweet emotions.
During the course of the program, several students stood up and gave a quick anecdotal story about a person in history, followed by relating the relation that person had to the child reciting the part. That personal note to the program evoked a sweet feel to the entire room. It was during one of those ancestry recounts that I was hit by a severe pang of guilt and sadness.
I remembered that a month or so earlier, I had just pulled into my driveway after a long day of work. Kelton came running out to my car with a paper detailing an assignment to research someone in his family tree and a story from their life. He was excited to tell me about it and asked if we could start it. With my mind still reeling from the day, I told him that the weekend would be great for that and we would revisit it then. I can briefly recall his mentioning it two other times. Each of those times, I put it off and almost immediately forgot about it. That content of that assignment was the material for the little speaking parts.
A reality hit me like a rock. My stomach dropped and my heart ached. Kelton had known about the assignment, brought it to my attention, and tried to follow through. Me, on the other hand, not so much. I realized at that moment, how disconnected from my family I had become over the last several months. Sure, I saw them. I talked to them. We went places together. I was there with them physically, but my mind was disconnected a large portion of the time. I was not being present.
I reflected on the past year and the events that had lead to that moment. I underwent two massive shoulder surgeries that left me relatively immobile for several months each. I had a significant relationship end messily. I accepted a new job. Although I had a better offer, the job I accepted made more sense, as I thought I was going to be getting married at the time. The new job was a really good career move, but required a lot more time and energy. After having another Those are just a few. I saw the trickle of events and how it had slowly pulled me into focusing my energy outside of my children. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I was immediately grateful for that flash of insight.
I took a quick personal inventory: my schedule, my job, my kids and everything else that occupied a major portion of my life. Kyra graduates from high school in a year, and moves on to college. Kelton starts junior high next year. I have a goal to move in a year. Life is moving rapidly and suddenly I have a very clear picture as to the direction that I need to shift towards.
After the performance was over, I found my son donned with a HUGE smile from ear to ear. Instead of going back to work, I talked him into letting me check him out of school for the rest of the day. We hopped in the car and I offered to take him to lunch wherever he wanted to go. He surprised me by asking to go home, have lunch delivered and relax and watch our favorite show.
You know, that is exactly what we did. We snuggled up on the couched, order Fire House Subs and watched our show. About 5 minutes into our program, Kelton scooted over, put his head on my lap and said, “Mom, this is a perfect moment.” My wise, old-souled son could not have phrased it more accurately. It was a perfect moment.
I am a good mom and I try really hard. Not every moment is going to be a perfect moment. We are going to have a lot of ups and downs. However, this is one of those moments that will be forever chiseled in my mind. I am learning a lot about me, and my strengths and struggles. I am cautiously optimistic that by making positive changes in my life, our lives will be amazing. By keeping my mind focused on what matters most, my children, and bringing into perspective where everything else should fall, our lives will become exponentially better.