September has certainly been one eventful month! For the past twelve months I have slowly been taking steps to wrap up a fruitful and rewarding thirty-one year career of working with young people within my community. The last six months were especially challenging as the work of informing clients and families unfolded, and supporting the process of hiring my successor. For me, it has been less about checking things off of a list, but rather, to feel my way through them, as a process and as life events that eventually leave me in a brand new place.
So far, I have been inching my way through a small mountain of notes, cards and drawings from young
people who for some had to be difficult for them to create and send my way…and equally hard for me to read also. By mid-month I felt truly honored by a farewell gathering hosted by members of the Youth Commission, the agency I worked for, and later by the Select Board with a special citation marking my retirement at the end of the month.
All this was unfolding and wrapping up as our family was in the process of making final arrangements for our third daughter’s wedding on the 26th. But wait…another milestone of sorts happened too, that
being our youngest granddaughter Morgan’s fifth birthday! When I think about this little life, so full of spunk and curiosity and knowing she’s been on the planet for only five years, it gives me goose bumps when I ponder how large a life-presence one child becomes in so little time.
As a dad it’s a momentous occasion when a daughter gets married. And it is even more eventful knowing it’s your third and last daughter to do so. As a Friends Minister it is also an honor and joy for me to have officiated at our first two daughter’s weddings some years ago and now
at Rebecca’s wedding just three days previously. It is hard to put into words, actually. Talk about milestones, the rhythm of life and flow of family and the very real blessing of being alive and to be present to all of it! It leaves me speechless…well, almost!
As September rolled in with a bang and now exits in search of tomorrows I can answer some questions that others have asked at times during this month of September:
- “What are you going to do in retirement, Kevin?” I tell them, “I don’t know exactly, I’ve never retired before. But I am committing one year to focusing on my writing and photography.” (I don’t tell them that something of the Spirit, of God, may well send me other work in time.)
- “What’s it like having six grandchildren?” I tell them, “It is beautiful, and strange and wonderful, a kind of crazy glue we call family!”
- “What’s it feel like to have officiated at all three of your daughter’s weddings?” And this is hard to express, actually, but I say, “There’s nothing large enough to hold my pride and joy of having had this privilege. And guess what? All three now will celebrate their wedding anniversaries in September, too!” I resist the urge to also tell them about my three favorite son-in-laws, which I’m sure I’ll get to sometime very soon.
So thank you, September, life and family. I’ll start the next month being a student to learn something new about photography. There’s just so very much to capture, say and feel during next month and beyond.
Text by K. Lee
(Image of yours truly…me, going over wedding program, by Jay Vieira, one of my three favorite son-in-laws! See what I mean?