When my kids were all very young I was a busy volunteer. I served on committees and search committees, took part in book fairs and school photo day, helped with fundraisers and public service campaigns, ran a school youth choir and a religious education committee, helped with reading and writing in classrooms, assistant coached, chaperoned field trips. The bottom line was that all of those things kept me connected with my children and the world they were living in.
As they got older, more towards middle and high school age, I slowly backed out of many of those activities. There were no more school day trips with parent chaperones, no volunteering in classrooms, and committee meetings at night only took me away from my children, they didn't give us something to share. So I said no to a lot of board invitations.
Last spring, as part of my plan to fill the hours in my impending empty nest, I joined my first board of directors, for a new education foundation for our local district. It has been a bit foggy and confusing as we feel out way to becoming a long term, well endowed foundation, but it is becoming more and more promising.
In any case, that is why when T walked through the door with her dad, who had picked her up at the bus station, I was sitting in our living room with 12 people around the dining room table (with all the leaves in). Still, I had to jump up and hug her.
Of course we have seen her since she left for freshman year in Boston, but it is different from having her here, home with us - our little family of the last few years back intact. What a happifying treat.
It's so nice to sit at the piano with her, sit next to her on a sofa for an idle half hour, sit on the edge of her bed and say good night. She was so happy to see her three doggie friends, who leapt and circled around her in a very winning homecoming ritual. It is a wonderful, spontaneous two day gift for everybody.
How quickly the sun has continued its arc towards the south during the cloudy stretch of days. And now that the leaves are gone, I am able to see the sun rise over the pond for the first time in many months.
Last night I took the dogs walking in the darkness, under a crescent moon and clear skies at 5:30 in the evening. Night walking is a soul-stirring activity too, which I don't do often. Maybe after my year of sunrise walks is done, I'll start doing night walking instead...