Today is continuation day. In our house that means our soon-to-be-fifteen-year-old is moving on to high school, and tonight a ceremony will mark the passing of this stage of his life known as middle school. He told me the other day that some of the kids think it's not that "big of a deal," and so they aren't planning on attending. I think that's sad. After all, we measure our life in incremental stages. We move through time from early childhood to teenager, then young adult, middle age, and elder. We attend pre-school, elementary, middle school, high school, and college. Often the pace of our lives is so frantic that we spin around the wheel of our life as if on a merry-go-round. The ritual of stopping, if only for a moment, allows us the space to honor and celebrate that which we are leaving behind. These sweet good-byes allow us to fully let go of what was as we step into what will be.
In preparation for the day I cleared my calendar so I could be available for whatever parental task was needed of me. I returned from my morning exercise class, and shook my man-child awake. "Get up and grab your shower, I'm taking you out for breakfast." This is a rare event, but what growing boy doesn't prefer Denny's to a box of cereal? He moved faster than what is typical on a school day and asked if he could bring one of his friends along. We climbed in the car some thirty minutes later and his energy matched the delight of a warm summer morning. He cranked up his music and the car moved forward toward the end of an era. I realized that I wanted to remember this moment with him forever. The vibrancy of youth, his anticipation of the day ahead, the joy of being on the brink of summer vacation, the promise of high school in the fall. It felt bitter sweet, as I knew he would never be that scared seventh grader of only two years before, who had learned his lessons about first girlfriends (the kind you kiss), and standing up for yourself when faced with bullies, and disciplining yourself to turn in all your assignments on time.
I counseled him over his breakfast to soak in the day. To take the time to acknowledge all those who had supported him in his growth. To be a little sad that it's over and happy at the same time. To spend time with those who will move on to different high schools. To feel proud of himself for everything that has been accomplished. And to know that there is still so much more to come. Today is a special day, one to be marked with a big red circle on the calendar of life. I love the ritual in that. The remembering to be grateful for all that is, and was, and will be. In my opinion, we just don't have enough of these moments. I wish there were more.
And then it struck me, what if every day were continuation day? Wouldn't it be spectacular? Wouldn't it be something if we treated every day as a moment to relish and rejoice in? If I did it even 10% more often than I do now, what would be the impact on the quality of my life? So I've decided to challenge myself, right now, in this moment to look for the magic, the sublime, the miraculous that exists in every moment. To see the beauty in a single breath, a helping hand, or a kind word. I want to remember to cherish the days that are quickly evaporating from one life stage to the next. I don't want to squander away a single day, but rather lift each one up as an offering to all that came before and all that is yet to be.