It started with the packets that came in the mail. Those thick large envelops that I seem to always dread opening. Included in the layers of paperwork was all the information on those “Back to School Days” schedules, important dates, forms, fees and needed supplies.
I put them aside, thinking I had all sorts of time on my hands to get to that business.
Wait. Where did summer go?
Clearly, I haven’t mastered the madness of school preparation yet, despite my experience of a decade of summer endings and fall beginnings. I seem to always find it appallingly shocking, when I finally realize that summer is ending fast and school begins in a few short breaths of insanity.
I somehow find myself spiraling into this frenzied state of craze, as all the things I need to do in order to prepare my kids for school recklessly flood into my sweet summer solace.
Why it is, that I don’t begin this preparation sooner- I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because summer seems to get cut off shorter every year. Maybe it’s because I have a sheer joy that comes with this season- it’s flexible schedules, careless fun, and lack of responsibilities. It’s quite possible, I just don’t feel like letting go of another season and forging on to a new.
Transitions are hard work with kids. There’s of course the whole school thing: Buying the supplies, outfitting our kids with new clothes, planning lunches and snacks, finding out classes and schedules, meeting teachers and starting homework and sports and all the other activities our kids participate in. There are sign-ups for everything our kids want to do, and of course buying what they need for them all. There’s the cleaning and sorting of old summer stuff, and cleaning and sorting of new fall stuff. There’s the packing of backpacks and clearing of desks and space for schoolwork to come.
It’s a lot of work.
And it always seems to get me frazzled in the frenzy.
But what really seems to stir my nerves, is the undercurrent of emotion triggered by all the anticipation and angst in letting my kids go.
Go off to a new year.
Go off to a new grade.
Go off to a new class.
Go off to new experiences, new sports, new friends, and new activities… new new new…
Letting my kids go off into the unknown.
It scares me.
At the beginning of every school year, I somehow get slammed with that startling awareness that my kids are moving forward in their lives and growing older on their timeline.
There is this profound combination of sadness and excitement that comes with this awakening.
It’s fresh every year, like it’s the first time I have had to face it all. You’d think I would get used to this, but I don’t. It’s these last remaining days of summer, where I find myself immersed in those big breath moments, full of deep sighs and gasping gulps. I don’t want to face it, but I know this is how it goes and there’s no stopping it. No matter how hard I try to hold on to time, it slips out of my grip.
Another year begins…