A Note from Aline

Stepping Back

In the elementary teachers’ room last week, LE Teacher Tara said to me, “Wait, no, James graduated from college?”  Tara was James’ upper elementary teacher and was in that state of disbelief we have when we think of the kid we knew, the 12 year old, who (impossibly) is now a man.

So I told Tara that all of James’ books, his rug, sheets, bookcases, and his swiffer (!) are now in boxes in our hallway and on the porch. “Plus we have all of Mark’s books from his school office in boxes in the living room. Thirty seven years’ worth of plays and acting and stage books.”

My husband is retiring from teaching high school theater. (Or, as he says, he’s “between gigs.”)  “Wait, Mark is retiring?” Tara asked.

“Well, yes, and actually it’s good because it’s just in time to be an attentive grandfather.”

“Wait, what?”  My stepdaughter Kate is due to give birth to a baby girl any day.


I think of myself as fairly reflective about things, fairly thoughtful about what is going on in the world and in our lives. But it took this exchange to get my attention.

And sometimes we are not even living really big events, but rather a series of changes that demand energy and care, and we just forget to acknowledge that.

Like kids moving from school to summer. Parents moving from the September-to-June routine to the warm weather, no-school routine. Or from middle school to high school. Or from being at LMS for 15 years and then not being there any more. Even the change from Eastern Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time can cause disruption in sleep that turns a household on its head.

Step back, read the signs, see the changes, and feel the thump of the thing that is or will be different. Just that, the stepping back, can make all the difference.

And then have a great summer.