Back to School-The Push and Pull of a Mother's Heart
My kids go back to school this week. They start on Thursday. It’s Monday.
My heart feels torn between being excited and being sad and for some reason I feel like I need to come to terms with the push and pull.
On one hand, I can’t wait for them to begin their new chapters. My older two are going into 1st and 2nd grades. I consider these to be really good grades in school. Still fun-the kids are still sweet and also independent. They’re going to learn so much and make such huge strides. They will come home each day having absorbed new information that they will carry with them the rest of their lives. They still will enjoy the fun activities like Halloween and holiday parties. They’ll get excited about assemblies and running around at recess.
And I will get to go to the grocery store with one sweet easy peanut instead of three children. I’ll get to relax during my baby’s nap. I’ll get to clean the house, get organized and get back to all the daily humdrum I’ve neglected over the summer. I’ll get to catch up with friends over coffee, work on my writing and enjoy some sanity saving peace and quiet.
However, every end of summer makes me long for the days gone by. The years gone by. That feeling when each of them got on the kindergarten bus for the first time. Well now they’re bigger kids and I remember that feeling of amazement at them leaving me for the first time for the whole day. How I cried the night before in anticipation of it. I don’t get that feeling anymore. Now it’s just what they do and I clearly see the passing of time marching on whether I like it or not.
I used to feel I had some control over it. In some ways we did. We got to decide when we got married, what jobs we picked, when we started trying for children. We got to register them for preschool (or not) and then decide the hours we would send them. And now, whether we like it or not, they’re going to school. All day. That’s the way it is and that’s what they all do. Whether I want it or not, they’re gone. That’s the feeling that stops me from rejoicing. WHETHER I WANT IT OR NOT.
And I do want it… I want them to learn and grow and blossom. I love them experiencing the world and growing up. I wouldn’t stop it if I could.
Although I’d freeze some moments. Moments we shared this summer at the pool, on vacation, snuggling in bed. Flying together on the airplane, driving in the car. Watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July, picking blueberries-everyone’s fingers bright red with juices.
They both learned to swim this summer, a milestone I value highly. There was this feeling in my chest when I saw them swim independently across the pool-that feeling of knowing that they’re going to be okay now. That’s the feeling that I want to have when they walk across the stage at graduation-that they’re ready for the world. Will I have that? Is that what this is all gearing us up for?
This week we’ll finish our back-to-school shopping and enjoy a little more of the summer lazy days. I will be strong on Thursday and I won’t cry and I’ll laugh about it later with my friends. I’ll pretend that I’m happy to have a quiet (er) home and a less full car. And my birds will be off learning to fly. I will help them.
Happy Back to School!
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