We experienced our first hurricane of the season on Thursday. It brought high winds, rain, and a bit of flooding on the coast, but was for the most part a non-event. North Carolina is no stranger to this sort of weather and it takes more than a category one storm to really get our attention.
Even if the storm isn’t strong enough to warrant evacuation, you really shouldn’t venture outside through its duration. As a way to pass the time, several people around here throw what are known as hurricane parties.
A hurricane party is much like any other party. There can be excessive drinking except a hangover the following day is the least of your worries. You can be surrounded by friends and loved ones having the time of your life, and at the same time you may be scared to death. What if the boards or tape on the windows aren’t enough to prevent the glass from breaking? What if your insurance doesn’t cover flood damage? What if everything you’ve worked so hard to build comes crashing down in a single instant?
My eldest son begins kindergarten after this week. Up until now he has been cared in a small preschool class taught by a woman who loves him almost as much as her own children. We’ve prepared him for elementary school as best we can. He knows his letters and numbers. He can read his sight words. He can follow directions and plays well with others. Later this week there will be a graduation party with cupcakes and other goodies made to celebrate what a wonderful boy he has grown into.
But as much as we are overjoyed to celebrate his accomplishments (as well as the end of half of our preschool tuition checks), I am a little nervous. Up until now he’s enjoyed a sheltered existence. He was king of his class. Now, although he will be attending a school which is highly recommended, he is going to be one of many. He may win over new friends and teachers with his charm, or he may not and have to learn how to get by without favored treatment. We are all going to have to make more than a few adjustments.
I could have elected to keep him at home. The home-school program has come along way in recent years. There are several people I know who have utilized it quite successfully, but even then there would be no guarantees that out lives in the long run would have been made easier. We would merely experience a different set of challenges.
While he is learning things like reading, writing and arithmetic over the next several years, I have to learn a lesson of my own. I will gradually have to learn how to let go. Up until now I’ve been able to plan everything for him. What he wears, what he eats, when he sleeps, and who he friends. Now he is going to have a chance to start making a portion of those decisions himself. It may be somewhat chaotic. He will make mistakes, but he’ll be able to learn from those mistakes. I have to accept that letting go will actually help us both become stronger, better people.
I can speculate what the future might hold for my son. I can lose sleep from worry. I can hold my breath at pick-up until I am blue while I wait for him to tell me how the day went. Or I can send him off, full of hope and excitement, knowing that we’ve prepared him as best we were able for his life’s next chapter, confident that we will find a way to deal with whatever life throws at us later down the line.
I can worry about things out of my control tomorrow or I can raise my glass and celebrate today. I can do any number of these things, but what I can’t do is stop the years from turning. I would have as much luck halting the advance of a hurricane.
Thank you Nina for prompting this particular analogy.
I would also like to thank Shannon Thompson for nominating my site for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. There are a number of conditions associated with accepting this award, and I’ll be addressing those in a follow-up post on my Facebook site.
I would however strongly encourage other aspiring writers and entrepreneurs to check out Shannon’s site. Not only is she an author with several publications to her name, she is one of the best I’ve come across at engaging with the online community through her Facebook page and blog, a skill that could be applied to in any industry.
- You need the world, and the world needs good people (www.shannonathompson.com)