The beginning of the school year brings a lot of stress to families and mine is no different. We have three children in three different schools, and the logistics of getting them everywhere they need to be on time is challenging, not to mention all of the anxiety relating to meeting new friends, new teachers and the transition back to a normal, in-person, school schedule.
I consider myself to be a pretty rational person and understand that the “stresses” that I feel don’t compare to stress and anxiety of those who have lost loved ones, houses, jobs, etc. in the various tragedies that have unfolded over the last 18 months.
But, in the moment, when rational thought seems to be on holiday, I struggle to remember how fortunate I am and that my problems are really not very significant. I suspect that many of us have those moments. What helps me to come back to reality is to have someone to talk to about how I’m feeling. For me, that is often my wife, Jen, but it can also be my colleagues and friends. I think that what is most important is to find someone who will listen. I don’t necessarily need someone to solve my problems but to listen as I work through them. We all would be well served to find those people in our lives who can serve that listening role for us.
When we returned home this morning, I was relieved and quite happy with how we handled the logistics of drop-offs and school meetings. As I basked in the glory of accomplishment, Jen turned to me and said, “by the way, happy anniversary.” She took great pride in being the first of us to remember that today is our 21st anniversary. It was a great example and huge reminder that you can get caught up and anxious about a lot of stuff that may not matter much in the grand scheme and forget about things that have much greater meaning
I hope that I, and you, can remember to focus on what is really important.
This week’s selection is:
We Begin at the End by Chris Whittaker
As written by Liz Moore of the The New York Times, “The bighearted “We Begin at the End,” by the British crime writer Chris Whitaker, straddles a host of genres. Part thriller, part bildungsroman, part Dickensian tear-jerker and — most startlingly — part western, the novel centers on 13-year-old Duchess Day Radley, a self-described “outlaw” who has been forced to grow up quickly by her troubled mother, Star.
In the prologue of the novel, the roots of Star’s trouble are made clear: When she was a teenager, her little sister was killed, a tragedy from which the remaining members of the family have never recovered. The rest of the story takes place 30 years later, in 2005, when the man held accountable for Sissy’s demise is released from prison. Vincent King’s return to Cape Haven sets off a series of events that imperil the lives of Star, Duchess and Duchess’s younger brother, Robin.”