For the past two days, I’ve been walking around like a mama bear whose lost a cub. I have been thinking about my oldest child whom we took to his first sleep away Sunday afternoon. He was ecstatic! The smell of the redwoods as the 3 of us approached the field for the first time was intoxicating. It seemed like no better place for a nearly 9 year old boy to spend a week of his summer. My husband and I were so proud of him, and truth be told we were each a little jealous too. But since returning home, I’ve been feeling a sense of loss for one of my cubs. I’ve been reminded of the beautiful rhythm in which our family beats to each summer. How each of us has a distinct beat to play for their part. And how the music is different when one is away. It’s a bittersweet feeling, the sense of loss and gratitude at the same time. I’m reminded of a beautiful book I read several years ago called The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. She eloquently describes exactly what I often feel and battle against in my own mind with time passing, “that nothing good ever lasts quite as long as I want it to and that no matter how old I get or how “grown up” I should be by now, the letting go doesn’t get a whole lot easier.” The sense of loss that time passes creates equally, sadness, optimism, and gratitude in me. Sadness for things left undone or things changed, but also a strong and true sense of optimism for what is to come in those same types of small moments. Today, my little guy isn’t tugging at my shirt, he isn’t being asked to be held or read to or driven somewhere. But, he is forging new ways on his own, he is making new friends, seeing new things, flying down ziplines, and developing a sense of himself unlike any other. That’s the paradoxical pull for me, from loss to optimism and always – gratitude.