Another traditional school year has ended. Your family may have experienced the end of pre-school, grade school, middle school, high school, and college for your children or grandchildren. The end of the school year also includes the end of some activities, such as dance, piano, and sports. Each year this time many families have major transitions. Some of what you and your family have experienced will now only be a memory. You and they will move on to other things, leaving behind people and experiences that have been a major part of your lives, some for many years. It is time to let go to move on. But we should be careful about who, what, and how we let go.
Our family had a high school graduation recently. My cousin, Paula (who is more like a daughter than a cousin) and her husband Bryan’s son Patrick is soon off to college, leaving behind many of his high school friends and life as he has known it. It seems like only yesterday that three-year-old Patrick was walking down the aisle as ring bearer in our daughter Tara’s wedding. Now Patrick will soon go to college, and Tara’s oldest daughter, Mary Grace, will be in the seventh grade. Our other two granddaughters, Elsie, who is 10 and Virginia only a couple of weeks shy of five years old, are also growing and changing. And while I am grateful that these children are growing and changing in normal ways, I am feeling the reality of the saying, “The Days Pass Slowly, But the Years Fly By.”
In the past week, Patrick has said, “I only have a little more time with my friends before we go in different directions.” This comment was made as an explanation for why he was choosing to spend so much time with his friends instead of doing other things. This is normal behavior at his age, wanting to be with your friends. He is right, he will soon lose connection with many of his friends. And that too is normal. It is impossible to keep up with everyone we have been connected to as our lives and theirs changes.
While transitions are normal and it is to be expected that we will not maintain connections with all who have been a part of our lives, it is important to choose carefully which relationships to maintain. It is easy to lose touch with people who have been an important part of our lives in different stages. Relationships require time and commitment, and it is easy to lose touch with people just because of time and distance. There is a difference in friends and social relationships. At times in our lives we have many social relationships and fewer friends. As we age, we often have less social relationships and more true friends, “more” not in absolute number, but in depth.
I am reminded of another saying, “Make New Friends but Keep the Old, One is Silver and the Other Gold.”
I hope that Patrick, Mary Grace, Elsie, and Virginia have lives filled with good times and good relationships. And I wish for them, and all of us, more gold than silver.