Milestones

Anna's Newborn Picture

How can she be old enough for Kindergarten already?

This is my 100th post on the WordPress version of Fatherhood Etc. By coincidence, it is also Anna’s first day of Kindergarten, and the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. This confluence of events got me thinking about milestones: those figurative markers of beginnings, transitions, and endings.

Father Scott Hurd, a priest from the Archdiocese of Washington, a fellow former Anglican turned Roman Catholic, and a Facebook friend of mine, posted this reflection on the Nativity of Mary and new beginnings:

We ourselves may be experiencing new beginnings at this time of year- perhaps the start of a new school year, or the launch of new work initiatives after the summer slowdown.

Any new beginning can be a time of excitement and hope as we anticipate its possibilities, opportunities, and challenges. But new beginnings can also give rise to apprehension and worry. We may fear what the future may hold, or become anxious about letting go of what’s comfortable and familiar.

Being a former Anglican priest, Scott Hurd is one of those rare Catholic “fathers” who is also a father in the more mundane sense that most men are, so he knows first hand the anxiety of sending a child off on her first day of school.

Today I know that anxiety too. As I write this, Anna’s lunch is packed, her dress is picked out (though she won’t put it on until right before we leave so it stays clean) and she’s excited about her first day. The time is drawing closer, and I’m not ready to let her go.

I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to let her go, but I have to. At least it’s only for a few hours. She still has a lot of growing up to do before I have to let go all the way.

I know I won’t be ready then either.

Beginnings, endings, and transitions are never easy:

(But) for each and every one of our new beginnings, the Holy Spirit is always present to guide us to embrace God’s unique plan for our lives, which we’re assured is designed for our good.

Thank you, Father. Your words couldn’t have come at a better time.

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