Seven
May 23, Round 3

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning”—Ecclesiastes 7:8

I just dropped the kids off for their last Tuesday of the year. Three more days and then…SUMMER!

If I want to feel proud and accomplished today (which I do!) I will dwell on this truth: We made it through an incredibly challenging year, both schools in opposite directions, both needing to be there at the same time. This has been when the age gap has felt the widest, spreading out a couple extra miles. Lots of tardies and calls to the office. Vernon dying on a school night their first week back. Not being able to show my face at back-to-school night in September. Justine’s early-year grief-group on campus, the family’s later foray into our own grief counseling. Tuesday-volunteering at the elementary school, watching those six- year olds settle into their seven and eight-year old selves by the end of the year. Homework, finished and unfinished. Coexisting with insecure thoughts about my parenting. All those advice phone calls with friends. Inconsistent dinnertimes. Inconsistent cooking. Maki’s finding a voice through his music. Justine’s teeth falling out. Mood swings in all of us. Happy times. Sad times.  My managing to pick them up on time most days. Justine crossing the bridge by herself. Maki getting taller than me. Another level of independence in them both. I can hardly believe we made it to the finish line. No wonder we are ready for vacation!

This was the first school-year of grief. If this was the worst of it, I think we will be fine. The point is, we survived!

The next big thing that Maki and I are looking forward to is a trip, first planned over a year ago, to Norway. His mother and his younger siblings will be flying up and meeting us in the north of Norway, which is where he spent many of his childhood years. I’ve never been up that far, nor have I met his grandmother, who still lives there. Maki will be staying longer than I will, as I won’t have Justine with us, but I’m thrilled to be included into the reunion. Even before Maki came to live with us, I imagined that one day he would give us a tour of his Norway. (Just a shame Vernon can’t join us in person). It’s a place I know he still has a nostalgia and perhaps a longing for. I know it will be a special trip for all of us…and it’s finally almost here! We can hardly wait! I’m looking forward to spending quality time with Synnove and her sister (and mother) and watching Maki play with his own younger brother and sister. I’m grateful already. This has been a long time coming.

But first…get through three more days of school. I can smell the freedom!

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(photo of the backroom at the studio where Maki has his guitar lessons. Finally a place to use it!) 🙂

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Seven
May 23, Round 3