This week heralded the beginning of a new season for me. I know some of you have already walked the same path. And for others, I can assure you that it won't be too far away.
You see, my youngest started school this week. It's an odd feeling with all four children now at school. It's a moment that has been years in the making. And now that it's finally happened - it's quite surreal.
Suddenly, there is no-one holding my hand as I walk out the school gate in the mornings. There is no-one accompanying me on my errands or to share a donut with. There is no-one to take to the park for a midday picnic and no-one to push high on the swings. In place of my cheeky little chatty companion is a silent void.
It's certainly a strange place to be. Oh, I know that this feeling will be temporary. My moment of feeling lost without my little tag-along will pass. But it's quite strange nonetheless.
For so many years (11 1/2 in fact), I have had at least one little person to keep me company at home, and life has revolved (more or less) around them. And now I am no longer a playgroup mum, or the mum who has to leave a play-date early because my child is over-tired, or even a mum with younger ones at home - I am a mum who has stepped into the next phase of life. And I'm not quite sure what this new season is called.
Many people have been asking - What will you do?
What will I do? (As if working part-time, and running kids around, and volunteering isn't enough). To be honest though, it's a question that I've thrown about for years.
What will I do when the kids are all at school?
I have plenty of things I would like to do - plenty of things I put off while the kids were little and there's still plenty of things I'd like to try.
But this week, I realised there is no rush.
That was a hard concept for me to come to terms with, because I've always been one to plan. My mind is rarely still - it's usually racing ahead to the next thing and giving me little reprieve. But this week was different.
With all my kids off at school, my husband away for work, and a week off work for me, I found myself with my own mini-break each day. Normally, I would spend my days rushing around, planning ahead, trying to cram as much as I could into each day. But I realised that this really is a time to treasure. And so I slowed my days down. I went to the beach. I read. I walked. I slept. I met up with friends for coffee. I wrote.
I enjoyed just being.
And so, that's what I will call this season. The Season of Being. Too often - and I know this to be true of myself - we as women, spend our time doing. But how often do we just take the time to just be? To enjoy a slower pace. To enjoy quiet and calm. To take the time for self-discovery.
So while I may have mixed emotions about my youngest starting school, I am also excited at this new phase of my life. I am looking forward to taking the time to discover what it is that makes me tick and what makes me feel alive.
I am looking forward to just being.