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This past weekend, we moved our oldest daughter out of the basement and into an apartment. And, though we had done this before, this one felt different; this one feels final.
In one of my more recent “father of the year” moments, she had asked us a few weeks ago if I thought it was a good idea for her to move out. My answer? “Yeah, I think it’s about time.” And no, I did not mean that to sound like “thank God, it’s about time!” All I meant was that, in the grand scheme of things, 22 year olds move on — there is a time, in the cycle of life, that a child should and, usually, wants to leave the nest. When I was 22, I lived at home for the semester that I was student teaching, and moved out the day after graduation.
We’re right in the middle of one of the great cyclic seasons right now! No, I don’t mean spring time and warmer weather and all that — for one thing, we didn’t really have a winter worth mentioning this year, and, for another thing, winter hasn’t let go yet (you’ll be thinking about this some time Friday night/Saturday morning!) No, I mean, of course, the changing of the sports cycle! Baseball is just starting up, so the Rockies are, of course, infuriatingly inconsistent. In the meantime, the Nuggets season just came to a close, and the Avalanche are in the playoffs (hopefully, still, by the time you read this). It’s a changing of the guard.
For that matter, part of what is frustrating about how the Nuggets ended their season this year was that, in failing to make the playoffs, they violated a cycle. Last season, they ended up in ninth place, one spot out of the playoffs, with one of the youngest rosters in basketball. In the normal cycle of things, that team from last year should have matured, gotten stronger, and had a relatively easy time getting into the playoffs this year. Instead, they ended up in ninth place, one spot out of the playoffs. Not how it was supposed to go.
Our students are all preparing right now for the end of their academic cycle. Which, for many of them, means this is the middle of a sub-cycle known as “testing season” [duhn duhn duh!]. For our middle child, this cycle is fraught with uncertainty, because next year is her senior year, and all that that entails; and the youngest is getting ready to go to middle school, which is just fraught. But, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable, successful or unsuccessful, happy or despondent each kid is at school, school comes to an end. The cycle moves on.
I think it’s a challenge, sometimes, to recognize the cycles of life, and to be wise to their implications. We get into trouble when we deny those cycles, and try to hold on too tight to a situation that we are comfortable with or love (consider the spectacle of the amazing, but aging, athlete hanging on for one last year). Or, worse, when we try to unnaturally force our way into cycles that we’re not quite ready for (see: Ball basketball family).
Don’t fight the natural progressions of life. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go finish that other odious cycle: the tax season.
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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