The kids started back to school this week - Cyd in high school, and the twins in junior high. It has been kind of hectic, to say the least, as we have reviewed, read, and/or signed lists of school supplies, class disclosures, permission slips, bus schedules, and so on. Cyd has had a hard time trying to decide which pictures to take to show her teachers. Bretten has had to figure out how to get her violin to third period out in the armory, after her second period Spanish class that is upstairs and clear on the other side of the building, since she doesn't have time to visit her locker in between. And Mychael has had to figure out how to see the board in her algebra class, since she is so tiny and, thanks to the teacher's seating chart, has ended up sitting behind a much-bigger eighth grader (one with an afro, no less).
As I talked with each girl over the past few days about these "problems," I found myself thinking about my own days in junior high and high school. Remember when your biggest problem was finding something "cool" to wear? Or whether that cute boy in 4th period would actually talk to you today or not? Back then, it was the absolute end of the world if your best jeans were in the laundry, or if Cute Boy didn't even look at you that day! I compare those problems to the ones I have on my plate today - things like, "When will this @#$! divorce ever be final?" "Will I ever find someone I trust enough and care about sufficiently, to marry again?" "And if I do, what if, 20 years from now, he turns out to be as big of a jerk as the first one?" "Will my house ever sell?" "How am I going to get all the crap and clutter out of my house in time for my yard sale?" "How am I going to get the kids through this first holiday season without their dad?"
Those kinds of "heavier" concerns made it especially nice to set them aside for a little bit, and concentrate on possible solutions for my girls' issues. Those school-girl issues seem so light in comparison!! However, in the process, I also realized that 20-25 years from now, my girls will look at the problems of choosing pictures, getting classroom materials to the right place at the right time, and seeing around large afros as being relatively minor problems, too. On the one hand, that's kind of sad because one of the reasons those formerly major issues become minor, is because you now have larger issues to compare them to! However, I also think the human brain is designed to forget trauma. Otherwise, who would ever be pregnant more than once, or get back on a bicycle after a particularly nasty fall, or make peace with someone after an argument?
Whatever the reason for big issues shrinking with the passage of time, I can only hope that it will eventually apply to my current problems, too - I want to look back at them and realize that they really weren't as big as I think they are now. It just better not take 20-25 more years for that to happen - I am not that patient!
Martin Luther King Day
5 weeks ago