Back-to-School Cheers and Tears

First Day of School | Tears and CheersThe morning is crisp and the grass still dewy as I stand outside with my children and husband waiting for the school bus to arrive.  We’ve already taken the obligatory “First-Day-of-School” pictures, and now the kids stand together chit-chatting about potential friends and the anticipation of new school events and teachers.

I can see two other parents down the street standing outside with their children, taking pictures as well, lined up to watch their kids board the bus and wave them off into a new year.

The first bus arrives, to the great pleasure of my puppy who barks at the yellow tube of kids!  The elementary age children run down the sidewalk to the stop, waving and saying goodbye to us.  They quickly say hello to the new driver and blow kisses out the window.

As the second bus arrives, my older “way-too-cool-to-blow-kisses” children simply jump into the bus and quickly wave as it drives away into the distance.  Suddenly the weight of what has just happened hits me and I feel overwhelmed and a bit melancholy.

First Day of School | TeenagersI decide to sit down on the step and take a few minutes to process how I’m feeling…

I am saddened by the fact that summer once again seemed to slip by me all too quickly.  That my free time with my children seems to have been lost in the rush of standard daily living.  The lazy mornings of sleepy-headed children dragging themselves out of bed to plunk down on the couch next to me, watch cartoons, and snuggle are gone for another nine months.  I know all to well that with school starting… here comes homework, dance, gymnastics, voice lessons, etc. and the manic schedule and carpooling associated with those activities.

Yes, I know there are upsides to school.  I remind myself that my clean house will remain clean ALL DAY LONG and that I won’t have to circle back over and over again throughout the day, putting away stuff and hollering for the children to pickup their toys and shoes.

I’ll enjoy time at the gym, extra long showers and time to do my hair, and enjoy the breakfasts I often skip with the children at home during the summer.  I’ll even be able to eat the breakfast that I’ve prepared for myself without sharing my food, or being distracted by 6 children pulling at me and saying “Mom, momMOM!”

Even better may be the ability to get my work done, with a still-napping 2-year old at home, in a timely uninterrupted manner that simply doesn’t exist when the rest of the kids are home during the summer.

First Day of School | Tears and CheersBut somehow now that five of our six children are in full-day school, it all doesn’t seem so bad.  There are still things I’ll miss.

I’ll miss them talking and playing games with me.  Their comical stories and funny outbursts.  Instead, I just now sent them off into a new school year in which they will spend more time away from me than at home.  More time being influenced by others than by me.  Somehow even though it will be 100 degrees outside again today, it suddenly starts feeling like Fall. Literally, like I will turn around right now and walk into the house, past my trees dropping their Autumn leaves and towards my porch decorated with pumpkins, hay bales, and cornstalks.  All the happiness and joy of summer, the carefree days, seem long past.

In that moment, my time with them as a mother and influence over them suddenly seems so short… so brief.  And my heart hurts.

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