That’s kind of the nature of May though, isn’t it?
On the 29th, I actually contemplated trying to finish the remaining 241 pages in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine for the sake of meeting my monthly goal, but then quickly decided that plan was (as Lily lately likes to say) “Ridic-ee-lous.”
I opted to let myself off the hook instead. Eleanor can wait until June.
Because I don’t have any books to summarize and only published one article about surviving long road trips with kids, all that’s left to write about in May’s summation are the things I thought about. But, lucky for you, there is never a shortage of thoughts racing through my head. This month, my thoughts congregated around three main things:
I used to think preschool graduations were about the dumbest thing on the face of the planet, and this, I guarantee, won’t be the last time I put my foot in my mouth about some childhood-related milestone that I once viewed as silly (Coming soon: My own overly emotional response to the first day of kindergarten).
Lily graduated from preschool a few weeks ago, and throughout the entire evening program, I choked back what could easily have been a steady stream of tears.
Three years ago, Jake and I were trying to navigate our first experience with the terribles, and our spirited Lily didn’t take it easy on us. Hour-long screaming tantrums were par for the course around here, and we often worried about what the future would look like for her.
One year ago, Lily wouldn’t even sing a single song in front of a classroom of parents. Instead, she would sidle up next to her teacher and cry the entire time.
This year, we watched our girl stand on a stage, sing, and dance with no hesitation, and it was impossible to ignore the growth she’s shown over the last few years.
Thankful is an understatement.
I feel sad and a teensy bit melodramatic about the end of preschool and our full days spent together (you may have already heard me refer to it as “the end of an era), but I was thinking about the word “commencement” the other day and realized that, by definition, a graduation ceremony isn’t celebrating the end of something at all. Instead, it marks a new start or beginning, and that feels about right.
This, I think, is the start (and continuation) of something really good.
At least, that’s what I’m going to be holding on to in a few months when she leaves me every day for kindergarten. Please plan on returning to this conversation in August.
My hostas pushed through the soil under our front tree a few weeks ago and have been growing steadily since. Every fall, I cut back their leaves, and then they lay dormant beneath the soil until spring when they faithfully burst back to life, larger than the summer before.
Last year, I was mesmerized by heliotropic flowers, a term I learned after I typed “flowers that turn toward the sun” into Google (in case you thought I was some kind of innate gardening expert).
But this spring, I find myself particularly captivated by the plants that require no replanting. The ones that live through winter as a waiting promise sitting beneath the earth.
I read recently (oh! I guess I did read something!) that it takes perennial plants 3 years to reach their full potential and gardening again feels like the most perfect metaphor to describe the growth I’ve seen in my own life over the past few years.
The cutting of dead things. The time it sometimes takes to see growth. The turning toward the Sun.
I am absolutely nowhere near any sense of full potential, but gardening continues to give me so many beautiful things to reflect on in my own life (in addition to the beautiful things it gives me to look at). I think I’ll keep at it.
I’m about to say something radical.
I don’t know what Enneagram number I am.
In fact, I don’t even know how many numbers there are or what the numbers even really mean.
This is an interesting fact because I am typically a person who is all in for personality assessments. Myers-Briggs. StrengthsFinder. DiSC. The one where I’m identified as a beaver.
I can tell you where I land in all of these personality tests because I totally geeked out and embraced them when they were in their heyday. I love the feeling of being known even if that only takes place in my own mind.
But, for some reason, I just can’t bring myself to embrace this whole Enneagram thing.
I don’t know; maybe I just don’t like the idea of being defined by a stranger anymore, and I certainly don’t want to be a person who just chalks everything in my life up to the fact that I’m an 18 (that’s an Enneagram number, right?).
All this to say, I’m open to conversion here, but I’m going to need someone to tell me how the Enneagram is going to A.) teach me something I don’t already know about myself and B.) make my life better in some way.
Please be in touch.
Come at Us, June!
I love everything about May. In my almost 32 years of life, I’ve never had to live outside the rhythms of a school calendar, so May always brings me both a sense of closure and anticipation.
It’s one of my favorite months.
But, just like that, now it’s in the rearview (along with Lily holding up four fingers when asked her age).
We’ve got plans for June, though. Among them, getting back to Eleanor Oliphant and starting on my writing goal of 10,000 words by August. You know, when I’m not living at our backyard water slide, letting the kids eat all the popsicles, or finding a new Cleveland gem to explore.
Enneagram 18s: We set slightly unrealistic goals, force metaphors on simple things like plant growth, and also indulge in all the summer treats.
It’s a good life.