Throughout my life I have noticed that there are different blocks of time that are similar, and then things change and there is a new block of time that is similar. I have learned that there are different chapters in life. I have noticed several distinct chapters in my life through the years, and we are now transitioning into a new one at our home. I will relate several of these chapters and then talk about the one we are currently in.
I guess, prior to getting married I didn’t look at life in chapters. So, growing up is just one big chapter that I won’t cover here. The first one happened when my husband and I got married. My husband and I started dating when I was 17 and a senior in high school. I was 18 years old, had been out of high school for almost one year when we got married, and I had only taken a couple of college classes because I really didn’t know where I wanted to go with my life. I am from Southern Utah, and he is from Alaska, so his plan was always to live in Alaska. He had already purchased property from his parents original homestead, so not long after we got married we headed for Alaska. When we first got married I was smart enough to know I wasn’t ready to have kids. That changed about two years into our marriage, but we weren’t blessed with kids until we had been married almost six years. Those first six years were chapter one. They were awesome years, and a great base to build our lives on. My husband started his Contracting business and I went to work with him almost every day. Those years helped us build a solid relationship and foundation for our future family. They were great years, and the memories are sweet.
Almost six years after we got married we had our first child. That was almost an instantaneous chapter change. Some are like that, while others are a lot slower. Even though I had been pregnant for nine months, I still worked and it wasn’t until I had my first child that I realized how much life would change. She got the ball started, and we ended the next five year chunk of time with four kids total, two girls and two boys, five years old and under. I always wanted my kids to be close in age, and they definitely were. This was the second chapter of our lives, but my husband will say that this chapter didn’t end until the diapers did! This was an exhausting chapter, full of sleepless nights and lots of hands on experiences. The days seemed to crawl by, but looking back, the years flew by. I don’t want to go back, but sometimes I wish I could have stepped back once in a while and realized how fast the time was flying. I loved this time in our lives though, just like the first chapter, this one is also full of sweet memories and lots of love.
The third chapter started just after my fourth child was born. That fall my oldest went to kindergarten. This was a transitional time, rather than a sudden end to a chapter like the beginning of the second chapter. Because my kids are so close together, the first two went to school one year after the other. Then there was a two year gap, and then the last two went to school one year after the other. These were great years as well, full of lots of activities in school, lots of field trips and concerts, art projects and volunteering. I loved the independence my kids gained being “on their own” a little bit in school. Theses years also flew by, much faster than I would have liked, but that seems to be the way life goes the older we get. I am so grateful for the wonderful elementary school my kids went to, and the awesome adults there who helped to shape my kids into the great people they are today. I am also grateful for how some of them helped to shape me.
The fourth chapter I would say began when my oldest went into high school. I homeschooled my kids through middle school, so there didn’t seem to be any huge changes as we were still always helping the younger kids in our free time at the elementary school. But high school was one of those chapters that hit over night. There was the anticipation from my oldest through the summer, but it became real that first morning that I dropped her off. I thought I was busy in each of these previous chapters, but I learned that wasn’t the case when high school came along. My oldest two kids went to a technical high school that was much further away than the normal high school, so every day we drove at least once to or from school. My oldest also played basketball. But the technical school didn’t have sports, so she played basketball at the high school she would have attended. That required a lot of driving as well. Instead of a 6 1/2 hour school day, she ended up being gone for 12-15 hours a day during the basketball season between early morning seminary and two hour practices after school, and all the driving time in between. This chapter of our lives isn’t over. My last child is starting high school this coming school year. While this chapter has required a lot of time and dedication from not only our children, but our cars and the chauffeur (me), I am grateful for the opportunity that the long drives have given me to stay connected to my kids, and for their willingness to talk while in the car. It’s a great safe place where they know what they say will go no further.
While we are still in the fourth chapter, I have felt the transition to the fifth chapter of our lives beginning, almost a year ago, but still kind of in the process. My oldest left for college last fall, and will be leaving in a week to go on an 18 month mission for our Church to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Today at our family Sunday dinner we were discussing that it might be the last dinner we have all together as a family for the next eight years if each of my children serve missions, or as they leave to attend college. So tonight, I feel a little nostalgic, but also very excited for my kids as they step out into the world. I worry and pray for their safety, but I want them to spread out their wings and fly. I am excited to see where they go, and hopefully, someday to have a few grandkids running around my house once in a while. This chapter will continue to transition into something new, I am sure. But I am grateful for the perspective that I have gained, and I am grateful for the wonderful family I have to travel along with on the road of life.
I am grateful for this perspective that I was given so many years ago about viewing my life in chapters, seeing that there is a time and a season for all things. Throughout these chapters my husband has grown his business, and taught my kids the value of work. I have started my business and am excited to see where it will go. Looking back, each chapter had it’s challenges, but each chapter had more sweet memories and growing love than anything else. Nothing ever stays the same, change is the only guarantee in life, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to embrace that change. What are some of the chapters in your life? What sweet memories do you have from those chapters?