You can hear it everywhere you go, mothers nearly giddy with delight over the idea of their children returning to school. Perhaps it is the “I’m bored” comments from the children, or maybe it is the dirty fingerprints pasted all over the white door casings, or maybe it is the constant bickering over the orange lizard or the black frog (not that I would know anything about that) or any toy for that matter. Somehow, the lack of a routine or schedule that was so welcomed at the beginning of the summer has worn us thin, and we crave the orderliness that the school day brings to our lives once more.
As a child, I couldn’t wait for the start of school…new school supplies, new clothes, new friends…it was all about a fresh start, a new beginning. But as a mother, I am much less excited for this new beginning. My children are excited, and yes, I guess I am looking forward to them meeting their new teachers, sort of. I had fun shopping for school supplies, and new shoes and outfits for school.
But there was an ache in my heart that was nearly palpable at times, when I would realize that the dreamy days of toddlerhood are quickly coming to an end. And always in the back of my mind is the undeniable fact that they are one year older.
They are one year closer to not wanting to hold my hand, and one year closer to the end of bedtime snuggles.
Pretty soon, they won’t enjoy blowing bubbles anymore, they won’t want to run through the sprinkler, or make paper dolls, or play with legos.
I’ll feel the sting of their growing independence when they ask me to let them go by themselves one day. And I’ll watch as they cross the street to the bus stop by themselves. And I will wonder when exactly it was that they got so BIG.
I will have a lot of time this school year to spend with just my baby girl. And I try to remind myself how nice and quiet the house will be with just Ella and me in the mornings. But I think that the quiet is only going to remind me of what is missing around the house…
Things just don’t feel right when they’re not around. I guess I’ve become accustomed to the noise–both the laughter and the squabbling–and the never-ending battle of the crumbs, and those dirty fingerprints. And I just don’t want the carefree feeling of summer to end.
So for the last week of summer, we’re going to run through the sprinkler, and eat popsicles, and blow bubbles. And we’ll have picnics and play in the dirt and stay out late riding bikes with our friends. We’ll take long walks and go to the pool with Daddy and make s’mores. We’ll paint our toenails (well, Kate and I anyway!), and drink lemonaide and watch Princess Diaries. And I’m going to soak in this last week of summer, before the madness of school and sports and religion and scouting begins again.
Before they are one year closer to spreading their wings, and flying away. Oh, this nest is going to feel so empty.