Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Replaying Those Back to School Blues

I have a confession. It's really quite pathetic. Blame it on my desire to be agreeable; but when the conversation turns to how we as Mothers feel about our kids going back to school, I can sing two very different tunes.

For many, sending their children back to school is a signal to Mom that it's okay to exhale. The warm chaos of summer has come to a close. A new chapter opens and life's going to be a little more settled, perhaps a bit quieter, than the previous one. You imagine that finding moments of peace will more easily be attained. There is a hope that maybe, just maybe, that counter top will stay neat just a little bit longer and that the crumbs around the floor of the kitchen table will be fewer. The return of routine steadies the family. A new rhythm of life takes shape and its something that everyone will be able to march along with.

I've sugarcoated it, haven't I? Bluntly spoken, a chorus of Mothers exclaim:

'My kids drive me and each other crazy! Praise the heavens above that school has started and I can be my own human again!"

The part of me that has been adjusting and falling in love with a new member of our family wants structure. School forces me into routine. My inner-planner is delighted when the schedule I've set is followed and we find ourselves 'early' to a commitment. I once made and kept fancy lunch dates when I was a single lady working in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. And while I don't miss that phase of my life, it's still kind of nice to 'have to be somewhere' even if it's just the carpool line at the elementary school.

The other song, is much sappier than the first. And if I'm being honest, it's the one that really resonates with me. It's a song that begins with a lot of energy; so much that if you're not careful it can effect the nerves. Sometimes I feel frenzied as the now familiar back to school tune begins to play. I try to shift that energy into excitement. However, the chorus that follows fills my insides with a distinct flavor of sadness. I felt it last Tuesday (aug 20) as I hugged my second grader goodbye and watched her confidently walk into her new classroom. It again greeted me this morning as I woke up my brand new Kindergartener. I found myself walking a fine line between wanting him to be prepared for everything and not throwing too much information at him. That may have introduced feelings of worry.

Having heard and felt this song before, I thought I'd be prepared for the song's crescendo. I was wrong.

Watching him trace the outline of his name before carefully hanging up his backpack and then shadowing him to his first ever elementary school seat, I felt the emotion rise in my throat. Thankfully he didn't notice. He happily went to work as I hugged his teacher and slipped out the door.

"Good luck today, Mrs. Chase" I said. "You'll do great!" What I wanted to include was, "Love my baby boy. He's full of so much goodness and  he means everything to me."

I wipe the tears before Andrew can see. Returning to my crew, I see that Henry's former seat in the stroller is now occupied with someone who wears a lively crown of naturally brown curls. Her big eyes smile up at me as she begins to play peek-a-boo with the shade cover of the stroller. In front of her lays a sweet baby whose eyes are wide and alert. He's drinking it all in.

Five minutes ago, that was Eliza and Henry. Back then my days were completely my own. I filled them as best I could with things just for them. I feel like it's a total gift that I have this new pairing to create memories with now. I hope I take advantage of it because in another five minutes, I'll be kissing my sweet Forrest goodbye on his first day of Kindergarten and wondering what the heck happens now?!

As for that song, in addition to the disbelief, excitement and sadness I've already mentioned, it evokes feelings of gratitude and finally triumph with his end of day report,

"Kindergarten is SO MUCH FUN!"    

What song do you sing, friend? Is it the Back to School Blues or the Halelujiah! They are gone! song? Maybe a combination of both?

Here's a million  few photos from their first days of school. Eliza began August 20 and Henry followed a week later on August 27th. 

The outfits:
 The smiles:

 The backpacks:
The Siblings:
 Slightly awkward, but I give points for having all of their eyes open!

The Goodbye:


I'm A. said...

This had me bawling. You are so eloquent Ali. And writing about your thoughts as you left Henry in his classroom echoed my own thoughts exactly when I took Caroline to meet her new teachers yesterday. "Take care of my baby!!! Please love her!" We are still in the shocked and sad phase of school starting ... C is our first and it just happened so fast. But I think down the road, I'll also look forward to it at the same time.

Audra said...

You capture it so well! I can't get over how grown-up Eliza and Henry look!

Anonymous said...

My oldest started HIGH SCHOOL and early morning seminary this year! Yikes! I didn't cry but I had a huge lump in my throat as I hugged my very large son who is now 3 inches taller than me and I prayed ALL.DAY.LONG. that he would be protected not just physically, but spiritually as well. I feel like Ive thrown him into the big bad world for real (3000 students at his high school) and it makes me nauseous as he was just my cute kindergartner yesterday! However I also have to remember that he is strong enough and was reserved for this time because of his courageous and valiant spirit!

Karina said...

I don't even want to think about sending my girls off to school! But I've still got time, right?

Anonymous said...

Karina it will go by faster than you can even imagine, don't blink or you will have a high schooler.

Catherine said...

Yes! Agree with the mix of emotions. I found so much joy the years I homeschooled because everything was calm and peaceful in the mornings with breakfast and family scriptures instead of the crazines, "let's go, we don't want to be late" feeling. It's a matter of prayer every year whether I will keep them home for school, but the last two, we have felt very strongly that this French Immersion experience is what they need. I do like more one on one with my baby and toddler during the day like you, but I miss my 2 big kids a ton!