Tomorrow my kids are back in school. Although I have had my share of “I’m bored!” “What can I do?,” I am not really looking forward to them going back. I like having them home. I like living with less structure and not rushing to get them to activities. I know I’ll miss staying up late to watch a movie or the Olympics as it has been for the past couple of weeks. I’ll miss being able to go on adventures in the middle of the day. I’ll miss snuggling in the morning and waking up after 8 a.m.
As I got the last of the supplies in the box to take to the Meet the Teacher night, I felt a hint of sadness mixed with nostalgia. At the same time I enjoy seeing my children grow, part of me dreads that they will soon not be under my roof. As we walked into school last night, my middle schooler looked over his shoulder and said: “Is it ok if I meet you later? I’ll be at the gym. There’s a volleyball game.” He’s not my little guy anymore, so I consent as I walk on with my soon to be 4th grader. We meet his teacher, drop off his supplies and go on a memory walk. He stops at all his past teacher’s class to hug on them. How can my baby, be going into 4th grade? When did this happen? This is why I dread school years. They sneak up on us and swallow our child’ year with so many events and activities that all we do is run them around. There’s not enough time to enjoy them, to watch them grow, to notice subtle changes. One day we stop and look at our child and notice that they are different, they are no longer babies, they now bare the faces of big kids.
So maybe, it isn’t the fact that they grow too fast. It might be more the fact that we are too busy to enjoy them growing. We forget to make time and space for late movies on weekends, snuggles on Saturday mornings, and even a mid-week unexpected adventure where we hang out as if it is summer. Maybe it’s time to realize that the busyness of the school year and activities is just taking away the precious time we have with our kids. Maybe it’s time to rethink what gets added to our calendars, what activities our kids really need to partake on, what is actually important in the long run. And maybe, just maybe, we will choose less and end up with more.