Back to school memories…
As students, teachers and staff are all headed back to school this week, I have been thinking about how this time of year has changed for me over the years. Other than when they went to Mother’s Day Out, I always hated back to school.
Mother’s Day Out was fairly easy for me because the children were not required to be there at a certain time, therefore, arrival time was not a pressure point for me… but then when they graduated up to Kindergarten, things were a little more hectic…I am a person who naturally rebels against the constraints of “being on time.” It is a problem, could be a sickness even…if there were pills I could take to make me “be on time”, I would own stock in the company now (or at the very least, Cody would). I want to be punctual; or maybe I want to WANT to be punctual- but it is seriously one of the hardest obstacles in my life. It is not that I am incapable of making it somewhere on time, it is just that it takes more effort for me than it does for normal people (or at least that is what I have always told myself ) It is a problem that runs amuck within our family, and tests the patience, love and acceptance of many of our friends and family. (Thank you, by the way, to those who have stuck it out and continued to love us in spite of our tardiness!)
Another reason the words “back to school” sent me into a private panic was the full knowledge and gripping fear of how hectic, chaotic and downright difficult it was soon going to be to live a somewhat normal life… between sports, practices, play dates, meetings, projects and homework, I knew family life would be reduced to “Hurry up!” and “Are you sure you don’t have homework?” and “Why did you get a zero for that assignment?” and “Eat your dinner fast, it is way past your bed time.” Obviously my organizational skills are almost as impressive as my punctuality scores…In all honesty, my organizational skills might have something to do with my timing disability. I never understood how other families managed to juggle soccer practice, baseball practice, football practice, homework and still feed their families a healthy meal before 7 p.m. I hated those moms…
But the main reason I hated the start of a new school year was because it always marked one more year less that I had with my children; and one step further they were stepping away from me and one step closer to walking out my front door and becoming adults.
And yet, the first day of school also brought positive emotions! I always looked forward to what I thought was going to be a “scheduled routine.”(Now looking back, I realize with 3 kids involved in all of their own activities…there is no routine.) I always planned to start getting up early, making a healthy breakfast, packing healthy lunches and getting everyone out the door with a smile on my face and a hug for all. I envisioned myself being the mom that said, “I love you,” in a happy voice as they walked out the door or got out of my car. All of these awesome dreams and plans were always shattered by about the 8th day of school. Everyone grumbled about breakfast, or did not get up and ready in time to eat it, so therefore I was serving it to them on the go while yelling, “Hurry Up!” Lunches were replaced with dishing out the money for “hot lunch” from school, or telling them to make their own as it seemed my children were incapable of returning home with their empty lunch boxes or containers… and when I did receive them, they were filled with rotten, untouched, but healthy meals. And sweet, “I love you!”’s were replaced with “Where did you last see your homework?!” “No! You did not tell me I needed to wash your uniform!” “Are you kidding me? You need what by when?!” Of course all of this was followed with an “I love you, I hope you have a great day!” But the emotional impact of the words was always a little dulled by the events of the morning.
I was always also excited to see what the year would bring for each of my children…new friends? New found passion for a subject? New talents and gifts discovered? New teachers? New sports seasons? It was a new beginning. A fresh, brand new year!! I was excited to see what my kids would do with it and what new memories we would make!
And now that my kiddo’s are all adults and no longer in school, I can say with certainty that I enjoyed those times well… they were the best of times and the worst of times…
As I was raising my children, my mom began a career as a County Judge. She always told me that being a judge was a very stressful job, but that the most stressful job she ever had was raising her kids…and, while I have never been a judge, I agree that raising kids is the most stressful job I have ever tried to attempt.
Now, the first day of school means the beginning of a busy, full time job for many of my dearest friends and family- including my daughter, daughter-in-love, sister, sister-in-law, brother-in-laws, nieces, cousins, and best friend. I always feel like I need to drop everything I can in order to help them get back in the saddle and ready for a new school year. My heart is heavy with dread and light with excitement as they face the first day of school. And in honor of everyone starting a new schedule and routine- I always try to start off on a good foot… I WILL BE AT WORK BY 9 (or 9:30)…I WILL MAKE US A HEALTHY BREAKFAST (even though I may be the only one to eat it, and I might eat it at my desk) I WILL PACK US A HEALTHY LUNCH (Although homemade salad can easily be traded for a burger, Chick-fil-A or a Fat Charlie’s Chicago dog! And even though I no longer have students in my family, only teachers… I still find myself praying for everyone!