Comings and goings


There is a wise saying in the Eastern tradition about the time between comings and goings. And how when you find that, you’ve found the secret to really being present.

And I wanted to start this blog entry with said kickass saying but my middle-aged brain is having a senior moment. Can’t find the phrase. Can’t remember which book I read it in. A certain percentage of you will relate to this.

But my addled brain and I are going to plunge ahead anyway. We always do. Why should today be any different?

Look at these two.

Down the aisle

My younger self and her Daddy-O walking down the aisle. A coming and a going all wrapped into one. Can you see it in our faces? We’re struggling in the In Between. I’m still his “little girl” in this moment. He’s still, technically, the main man in my life—at least legally. But we’re feeling that phase of life slip away with every step. The going. A milestone, but also a marker of the steady movement of time. Tick tock.

And how about the coming? Yes, there’s that. I am about to become a wife. Me—the independent, creative, feminist odd duck is bowing to tradition. I am coming into a new phase of life in this picture, just steps away from another beginning.

Hence, the smiles with the tears. The somewhat wistful, melancholy look before the celebration begins.

I have never loved comings and goings.

Last week, my son was arrived home to help me plant a bush. Dinner was next on the agenda. His cell phone rang and within one short minute the coming was a going. “Mom, I’m going to Melody’s [name changed to protect the innocent] to study for the math final.” Ah, yes. Melody of the large blue eyes and snappy comebacks. And beyond the tiny coming and going I experienced in that moment, I saw a larger one heading my way. The going where another woman takes her rightful place in his heart. The going where I have to inch over and make room for her.

My youngest, while still affectionate, is about to hit his teen years. “Mom, you want to watch a movie tonight?” Coming. But with one ring of the doorbell, he is going. As it should be. Time to spread his wings.

I just celebrated my birthday with a group of friends in a lakeside town. We shopped, had a wonderful dinner and stayed up far too late playing the card game for awful humans, “Cards Against Humanity.” Such a coming. Laughed until I cried and completely welcomed the upcoming year. Yet, one of those friends is likely to move within that year. Going.

While I still can’t remember that wise saying word for word, I appreciate the gist of it. The time between comings and goings is truly precious. Most of us call it daily life. And we miss the beauty of it some days.

Take another look at the pic above. I was not missing anything on that day. I was acutely aware that I was in one of those rare moments—a beginning and an end separated by a split second. We don’t get too many of those in a lifetime. The last big one I had was probably this one, as my son graduated from a wonderful school.

As so many of you celebrate in this season of graduations, weddings, births, feel the split second, won’t you? And then thank God for the time just after. That’s the In Between. One of my favorite times.



44 Comments Add yours

  1. fritzdenis says:

    I can easily relate to this essay. My daughter just got married. It’s taken weeks to get used to the idea that I am no longer her guide and protector, her DAD. But it’s getting easier, and my wife and I, now that we no longer identify ourselves mainly as parents, have begun to act more like we did when we were first married. Opportunities emerge when old roles fall away.

    1. candidkay says:

      Ah, the Renaissance marriage:). That’s a good thing! Bittersweet times . . . congrats on both counts!

  2. 40 year old adults play cards against humanity too? Cool 😛

    1. candidkay says:

      Only the cool ones:)

  3. Happy belated birthday! Your words are very true and we all need reminding to be present. It all moves in and out so quickly. 💚

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! This was a big bday and really didn’t bother as much as I thought it might:).

  4. I have never heard it described like that. The comings and goings are real!

    1. candidkay says:

      They are! And I know you’ve had your own:). I think you weather them like a champ .. .

  5. Susan says:

    I’ve been AWOL lately but popped back in to check what you are up to. Still killing it. Cards Agsinst Humanity can only be played with great friends who truly understand you…..coming and going.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I’ve been a bit AWOL lately also. Life to live, right?!

  6. Kristine, The comings and goings are real poignant. What a beautiful picture of you and your Dad. Your faces say it all.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I miss him dearly so darn often . . .

  7. Cindy Frank says:

    As someone who also straddles the past and present, the comings and goings, your lovely and bittersweet post put me in mind of another great thinker, from long ago, “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” Marcus Aurelius. Beautiful post.

    1. candidkay says:

      He was one smart cookie :-). I guess that is further proof that despite the centuries between us, and the basics of human nature don’t change that much.

  8. George says:

    There is an old movie called The Summer of 42 from back in the seventies and I always remembered a line from there that I’ll paraphrase.
    Life is a series of comings and goings and for all that we take with us there are some things that are left behind.
    I thought about that line as I looked at the photo of you and your Dad.
    I loved your post. Profound thoughts and something that we should remember. Live passionately in the “in between”

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I’ll have to check that movie out. Although, it sounds slightly familiar. But again, my addled middle-aged brain strikes :-). I will probably begin to watch it only to realize that I watched a decade to go.

  9. You made what could have been bittersweet come off as soft, warm and precious. Thanks for helping me feel like I’m mining treasure with you.

    1. candidkay says:

      Aw, thank you:). You know how to get to a writer’s heart!

  10. Aunt Beulah says:

    Your thoughtful words caused me to reflect on the coming and going moments in my life and my ability to find joy in the in-between. There have been many, I haven’t always recognized them, and I know I’ve busied myself out of being fully present in between. I also realized with age my awareness has improved. I spent a long time with your thoughts today, Kay. Thank you. And also, I thought the illustration was the perfect companion to your words.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you for the kind commentary:). I’m so glad this post struck you. The fully present part is not easy because our culture does not encourage it. We are rewarded for busy, not for contemplation and being fully in the moment. Here’s to finding a way to it anyway.

  11. modestly says:

    A prescient post – it is all about being aware of what is happening now isn’t it? I am at the stage of watching my sons grow into young adults – the youngest graduates this summer. It is a process that is as inevitable as it is both joyful and sad. I love how mature they are and how they are steering themselves – I know I will be less and less apparent in their daily lives. My husband retired this week – we will be learning how to address the future together!

    1. candidkay says:

      Wow. That’s a river of change in one season! And you’re right–a mixed bag of joy and sadness. But I love your attitude. Wishing you more joy than sadness this season:).

  12. Lovely Kristine, those in between times can be challenging but they also are what make us grow.

    1. candidkay says:

      Amen to that:).

  13. Sparkyjen says:

    Well…that was fun. I too decided to embrace the challenge of searching for your aforementioned quote. Google took me on a joy ride, while also helping me create some new brain cells. I did find a couple of books with the key words you used, but most importantly I think was a book I found by Jeff Goins called: “The In-Between.” That’s where I stopped, and realized once again that staying a while longer with the in between is what gives the present moment even more meaning–more significance. It also allows us to just be with it, enjoy it, and celebrate it. What comes before and goes on beyond also gets a thumbs up, but not as much as what’s happening right now. Excellent thought and focus post. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. candidkay says:

      We will find that quote yet! It’ll drive me crazy otherwise :-). It is only in the present moment that I am able to find joy. I realized this in the middle of a very difficult time in my life. It was not a time that should have been joyful. But moments of joy crept in :-). The In Between can be a really cool place.

  14. Ah yes. Beautifully written. I won’t comment much further because just yesterday I was writing about this sort of thing. However, I know what you mean. And as much as I look forward to my son spreading his wings, there will be sadness too. And I will welcome the tears when they come and then relax into the new.

    1. candidkay says:

      I will have to check out what you wrote yesterday. Not the first time we’ve been channeling the same thoughts :-).

      1. Just published it.

  15. What a thoughtful post, and such a lovely photo, K.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks so much, Cynthia. I look at the young woman in that photo and know she is me but also feel all the lessons in between us :-).

  16. nimi naren says:

    This is so beautiful. Loved it

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I’m glad it touched you.

  17. srbottch says:

    I will be seeing my 6 month old twin grandchildren for the first time in a week or so. I would guess to say that is a ‘coming’ as it reminds me of a new phase of my life and how precious the time will be to celebrate them and be thankful for them., the ‘in between’. My son and his wife will be more focused than ever on them, a sort of ‘going’ away from us. I enjoyed your thought provoking post, Kristine.

    1. candidkay says:

      Wow, congratulations! What a wonderful moment to be able to celebrate. Two new beings coming into the family and two existing family members shifting focus in the most beautiful way :-). Spoil them rotten:).

      1. srbottch says:

        Thanks. First time grandparents, HOORAY!

      2. candidkay says:


  18. Now I’ve got homework. Have to look up that quote. I’ve heard it before as well. Guess that means I’m joining the on the path to maturity right? I sure hope so. Otherwise, I’m just getting forgetful.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, send it if you find it! This forgetful this thing drives me nuts :-). I guess that means I have to up my cardio.

  19. shunpwrites says:

    Those transitions that we should be acutely aware of often fly over our heads, much to our own consternation. Awesome piece!

    1. candidkay says:

      They sure do:). Have to find the awareness in the In Between. Thanks for the kind words!

  20. An interesting discovery I made Kristine. While ever I held my fears, I was projecting in all its forms…what if…can I…will I…should I. Constantly worrying in some form or another. The moment I finally saw what my fear was built on, and began to resolve it, all of those bits and pieces no longer mattered. I began to release them because they no longer had meaning for where I was now at.
    I then understood ‘I am’, and now stand in that space. Mind you, I’m still human, still being bombarded by this world…but it no longer has a hold on me because I simply resolved my fears. Do one, and the other is guaranteed. And the incredible thing is…all those things we were so busy to notice, then begin to make their presence felt…like a butterfly fluttering around some flowers, the wind blowing in the tree’s, the open laughter of a child. All of those things we never seem to touch or feel…while ever we are being distracted by those fears.
    Don’t get me wrong, those fears have great purpose. they are the guide to realise what you can become in their presence. They will bring that discovery of happiness we all seek, because of what we have endured.
    You, young lady, have endured well…your posts show the wisdom you have gained, even if it holds those moment of ‘going’…it gives a greater appreciation of what is ‘coming’.
    Thank you for sharing your comings and goings, it teaches the heart well 😀 ❤

    1. candidkay says:

      Insightful as always, Mark. And you’re so right-the only way we can truly appreciate the In Between is when we let our fears go and are able to feel the calm. That’s a wonderful feeling :-). So glad you’ve gotten there.

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