ALL THE REASONS WE LOVE BACK TO SCHOOL + THE ONE REASON WE DON'T
I don’t know about you. But I’m thrilled the school year is starting. It brings a sort of renewal to the end of the year. A sort of re-start if you will, or re-set. It’s schedules, packed lunches, early bedtimes, drop offs, pick ups, and an organized kind of chaos that puts us all in a bit of order. It's routine. And mandatory, not optional. And although, the early bedtimes, mean perhaps a glorified bath with a glass of wine and a good mud mask for mom, the mandatory part of the equation puts a damper on my heart. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only mother who feels this way.
Maybe it’s because we’ve entered the 1st grade. We made it to the top of the kindergarten mountain after the incredible climb and many falls. Then summer came and we ran through it like wolves in the great wide open. We soaked up the sun even as recent as this morning. We ate all the popsicles, we skinned our knees, we swam at night and listened to the melodies of the crickets singing. We made s'mores. And hot dogs. And we never looked back. We summered hard. And it was perfect. And although like other mothers, I sigh with relief and copious amounts of excitement at the very thought of being child-less for an almost 10 month school year, I also feel a pit in my stomach over the very nature of time. It’s escaping. And the school year makes you see life by a calendar. And that calendar makes life go. And that feels hard on the heart.
I’m not suggesting we pull our kids out and start home schooling, or pack everything up and move to an island where time slows down, I’m just sitting here looking at another year that’s mapped out for me on paper and I’m not ready. And maybe you're not either.
Before I was a mother to children in school, other mothers would often say to me “Wait till that baby gets into school, life goes by in an instant.” I couldn’t quite grasp that concept. Kind of like when women would say to me before I had children, “You can never explain the love you have for a child, till it’s in your arms.” And then in the middle of bath time, all the things I never knew are suddenly descending onto my face like rain in Hanalei Bay in the winter. It’s constant. And it’s waking me right up.
Perhaps your children are grown and have children of their own. And you and your husband are enjoying the fruits of your labor somewhere off the coast of Italy. Or perhaps you’re a new mom and your baby is turning the curve of 9 months and the squishiness and the smiles are all more than your heart can handle. Or maybe you are right here, in the school portion of the mother program. And all of a sudden on a gloomy summer day, you decide to put all the work and responsibility aside and you take your daughter to buy new school shoes. And you may be un- showered, and she may pick out the brightest of the brightest rainbow skechers you’ve ever seen. And maybe those wouldn’t be the shoes that your black, white and grey pallet would choose. But she smiles so big and beams with excitement for starting her school year this week. And you buy the shoes. And it makes your heart so happy. And before she goes to bed she says “momma, will you lay with me?” And all of a sudden life stands so still. And nothing in the world matters, but this moment. And you lay still. And you rub her back. And you soak up one of the last times she’s going to be an almost 1st grader. Because everything else can wait. The bath, the dishes, the work. Because her. And because the school years have only just begun.
I’m pretty sure I’ll jump right into the school routine ever so fondly this week and maybe get out and accomplish a wonderful thing or two this school year, but right now, I just want to breathe in and breathe out, that today and every day I have being a mother to these babies of mine, is my day and although it’s going at the speed of light, it’s my responsibility to take each day at my pace, so I don’t miss a thing. Because they’re only this little once.