27 Aug
Posted in: parenting
By    1 Comment

Not Celebrating the Start of School

I don’t share the same sentiments as some of my mama friends as the new school year begins. I won’t be celebrating my children heading back to school. I’ll be wondering where the last three months have gone and cursing the quick passage of time.

Our youngest heads to kindergarten this year. Next week marks the first time in nearly 13 years that I’ve been without an extra shadow. There are no more little hands to hold as I run errands or lunch partners during the week. There are no more after-lunch reading sessions or mid-day painting sessions. No one will be there during the day asking to build a train track or needing help to dress a baby doll.

four children in the blue water of a swimming pool

It hasn’t all been crafts and pleasant play. There have been tantrums, poopy diapers, refusals to eat and sleepless nights. Over a decade of unpleasant moments weave among the moments of joy and the mundane moments I take for granted. There are moments, whole days even, that I just have to endure and enjoyment is not an option, but still I appreciate the opportunity I’m given to parent my children. I may not be appreciative in the trenches of parenting battles, but always in hindsight. Don’t get me wrong. I could use a break after three months of playing the role of camp counselor but sending the kids away for seven hours each day, five days a week is a lot of away time for someone who stays home with her children.

four children resting on a hotel bed

Those not-so-enjoyable parenting experiences, taking a child for an x-ray to see where exactly the swallowed quarter is in the intestinal tract, have shaped who I am and who they are becoming. Being a crucial participant in the life story of four people, is a weighty privilege I feel more with each passing year of parenthood.

four children eating ice cream cones

I’m the first to admit I feel my emotions deeply and openly. I’ve cried each year the night before school begins. I miss these kids when they’re gone and not because they’re obedient, perfect angels. They bicker. They drive me to fits where I’m just certain my head will explode or a vocal chord will burst. My house is noisy with life, smells of boys and has glitter and dead grass ground into the carpet in almost every room. My basement is a death-trap of LEGO pieces and piles of shoes crowd doorways. Someone is always hungry and something always needs to be found.

woman holding a red heart-shaped rock

We’re not perfect. Parenting is difficult. Growing up is complicated. I know I’ll miss the cuddles and laughing as much as the things that drive me bonkers. School starts and with it comes homework and activities. The days are gone in a flash. I’m relieved my kids don’t dread the start of school. They adjust well to new things and change. They miss their friends, their teachers, their life outside the family. I’m excited for the potential each new year holds for my children.

You won’t find me celebrating sending my kids back to school. I’ll be reflecting on the time we’ve spent together, both this summer and since the beginning, and how we’ve been shaped by the good and bad of this parent/child relationship. Being given the title of mama has taught me infinitely more about myself, the positive along with the negative, than any other life experience.  I’ll become teary-eyed as I watch those four pieces of my heart walk into their daily lives as we face yet another life change together. Then I’ll go home and eat ice cream because I’m incapable to handling raging emotions without frozen dairy products.

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1 Comment

  • Love this, Shannon! 🙂