Exactly one year ago, I wrote about how difficult it was for me to watch my children start another year of school. I bemoaned the bittersweet nostalgia of another year gone by, the harsh reality of babies-turning-toddlers-turning-children-turning-teenagers, all of which had happened, seemingly and suddenly, while I wasn’t looking. Exactly one year ago, I waxed poetic about Father Time’s indifference to Mothers Everywhere; I cried over Days Gone By and ached to return my growing cherubs to their Splendor In The Grass. Exactly one year ago, I took front-porch pictures of my three darlings with a lump in my throat and a knot in my heart. It was a tender time for me. Always has been.
This year, something changed. Whether this change was within or without, I cannot tell you. Whether this change was good or bad, I cannot tell you. All I can tell you is that this year, on August 26, it was not difficult for me to watch my children start another year of school.
This year, my heart was not knotted and my throat was not lumped.
This year, when confronting the rapidly diminishing childhood of my offspring, I tasted none of the bitter, only the sweet. (As in: SA-WEET! School’s back on!)
This year, I was
relieved giddy ecstatic delirious pleased to send my wee ones off to another round of school. I was happy and excited to see them go, and they were happy and excited to be going. In short: we were all happy and excited to get away from one other.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a great summer. We traveled and swam and camped and got along with each other. We were busy and tired, all in good measure. But as the weeks wound down and the calendar cooled, none of us could finish summer fast enough. We’d loved it, but we’d had enough of it. And I, for one (don’t judge) had had enough of my children lying around the house all the hot and dry day long.
And so the first day of school was, for this mom, awesome. No tears, no lumps, no knots. No schmaltzy posts about a sepia-tinted yesteryear and how it all-went-by-so-fast. No regret as I closed the front door, only a relish in the silence that soothed me like a cool washcloth after a long day: soft and fresh and long overdue. I took a deep breath, thought about what fine children I’d been blessed with, and then dove into the business of the day. No looking back, only looking forward. (Which, by the way, I’ve found is much easier on my neck.)
Take heart, young moms. It won’t always be as hard to see your children go as it was for you today. They get older, and smarter, and stronger, and easing them out into the world will eventually feel as natural as shielding them from it does now. You will both grow into it, promise. Watching them grow up gets, bit by bit, a little more gratifying and a little less heartbreaking. It all works out.
If you’re like me, you’ll start to feel kinda like a (star) quarterback who’s thrown each of your kids a long, beautiful pass–and now it’s up to them to catch it and run. Maybe feeling that way means I’m heartless, maybe it means I’m healthy. Either way, it means I’m happy.
And these good people seem happy too:
Ethan: Fourth grade, new Nikes (first name brand he’s ever requested–and so it begins), and actually a very happy boy but refuses to smile in pictures.
Megan: Eighth grade, fabulous hair, and most excited about being an Office Aid this year because–wahoo!–it gets her out of P.E. (which tends to interfere with the fabulous hair.)
Rachael: Tenth grade, fabulous smile, and most excited about getting her license in five short months. Another milestone that should taste bittersweet, but instead has me salivating with the prospect of terminating my endless chauffeuring duties. Bring it on, baby! Mama’s gettin’ her groove back.