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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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The Visitor

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Originally published September 7, 2007

This column is reprinted with permission from The Hills Newspapers.

Just when I thought all my visitors had gone for the summer, another has arrived. I would like to say I welcome every visitor with open arms. But, it’s not always true.

This latest visitor shows up a little too often. Most of the time, I wish that I could lock the door, close the blinds and pretend not to be home. Then, maybe the visitor would just go away. That might work, if I was talking about a person. But, I am talking about the regret that shows up at endings.

Like the regret I feel now at the end of summer. The slower pace in the summer allows my family to break out of routines. We have time to get away, try new things, and just be together. When it’s over, I cannot help feeling some sorrow. As regrets go, this one is pretty small. Summers end, but they also come again.

There are bigger endings in life accompanied by bigger regret, such as my regret over my daughter finishing elementary school this past spring. As proud as I am of her, I also feel a sense of loss as she leaves early childhood behind. No more bedtime stories, imaginary games, or skipping beside me while holding my hand. Unlike summer, some things do not come again.

No endings are bigger than the loss of family or friends. Losing my father several years ago felt like the end of summer forever. I could not imagine the future without him. It seemed the regret would never go away.

Sometimes, regret is like the visitor who never leaves. Lying around on your couch, eating all your food, and demanding your total attention – this houseguest intends to stay awhile. Nothing, it seems, can be done to change the situation.

But, there is a way to send regret packing, by welcoming what comes next. That is easier said than done at times. When my father passed away, it was difficult to look ahead at all. I would have given anything to know what came next. The answer came then in the arrival of a new baby.

Not as much is necessary now to get over my regret at summer’s end. It’s easy to welcome the start of fall. This time of year feels like a clean slate, just like the blackboards on the first day of school. Everything is fresh and new, and anything is possible.

The same way it’s possible to look forward to what comes next as my daughter begins middle school this year. Her early childhood is gone, but there is more to come. Just as there will always be more visitors to come. And, like any good host, I’ll welcome whatever comes next.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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