First day of school.
All summer long I’ve fretted this day. Mike even said maybe this was the year to start homeschool. And I was considering it…again, for the 89th time.
This is the year of middle school for Miriam and Emma and Grace being on her own in elementary school.
What it really comes down to every year, though, is that kids rise to the occasion.
For me, it arrives too quickly and then feels like a punch in the stomach and as though my buttons might burst (not necessarily because I ate too much breakfast) because my kids are blowing my mind.
This year I have 4 kids in 3 different school. High School. Middle school. Elementary.
Every year, I wonder, “How did I get to this place? When did this happen?”
Emmett believes he’s a pro at High School now and gives his expert advice on all things pertaining to middle school to Miriam and Emma. And really he is. He tells them what class is going to be like, teachers, the rules, and lunch time. He expounds, for their enjoyment, on all that he knows. I’m amazed at how in stride he takes everything that comes his way. He is relaxed and happy in his own skin. I love his confidence and the way he makes decisions. He will be driving by the end of September and looks forward to it everyday! There is nothing he can’t accomplish. The world is open to him and he sees so many possibilities. His young heart is at once pure and bouyant.
Middle school has been my biggest fear. I’ve heard horror stories. Things like “the transition from elementary to middle school is horrible…especially for girls” scare me and make me worry about what is ahead for my sweet girls. The movie Mean Girls has become my own nightmares as I sleep except with different girls playing the parts. Young girls face so many issues and I hope that I can be a helpful, happy, supportive guide through the choppy waters ahead of us.
For my girls, they are going to one middle school and all of their dearest friends are going to another middle school. They are heart sick and worried. Not only are they going to middle school they are also going without their best friends. And secretly I’ve worried, too. I’ve adored their sweet group of 5th grade friends and have my own reservations about what the future will be like without them. Up to this day I have tried to reassure them, talk through scenarios, practice meeting new people….anything I could think of to make this transition easier.
Excitement and trepidation made it hard for them to sleep last night on the eve of school beginning and as we walked through the middle school doors. We immediately spy a familiar, happy friend and the girls shoulders relax just slightly.
For the first year of school in her life…ever…Grace is going to school by herself. She has never done this. We’ve had conversations about the bus, she doesn’t want to ride it without her sisters. Five minutes later she says, “Yes. Yes. I’m going to ride the bus home” Back and forth she goes.
Grace and I walk into the school and I am immediately caught off guard by her quick and sure steps. Her head is high and she even seems like she can’t wait to get into her seat. For the past two years she has been much more hesitant when entering her classrooms. This year I follow her. She hangs her backpack on her chair, arranges her lunch box just so, gets out her pencil, sits down, and listens to her teacher.
I walk out of the school stunned by her confidence. I had expected a tearful request that I stay or at least a look that said, “I hope I can do this.” I thought we would have a discussion about how she didn’t want to ride the bus home alone, that she had changed her mind.
None of that happens.
As we walked from the school Mike grabs my hand and asks, “How are you doing?”
And before I could even stop them numbers start to pop into my brain. As I quickly do the math my throat tenses up and I fight back tears that are threatening. My mind is adding up how many years I have left with each of my children before everything will change (it takes me a little longer than it should since math and I are not friends).
And I want to run into the school and snatch Grace from her class and turn back summer so that it will never end and we can live in that time between the end and the beginning together and never have to grow up.
But that’s not the way this goes.
So today, I sit and try to work. I try to be busy, to do something useful, to accomplish something that would matter. Instead it seems more like I wander aimlessly around my quiet house not knowing what to do and wondering if the hands on my ticking clock are moving at all.
After months of our home being filled all day long with activities, kids laughing (and fighting), adventures, movies, pool parties, reading corner, playing school, and doors flung open wide, it seems too quiet and I feel small with too much uninhabited space around me.
And so I wait, wanting even more this year than in years past, to know what happened. What was middle school like? What did you feel today? Were you as lonely and scared as you thought you’d be? And for Grace, What happened on the bus? What was it like without the girls? What was it like to not be a freshman today?
They burst in the door and I can tell by their energy and sureness that today was amazing.
And all of my fears melt away as I hear their excited voices rising in decibels with stories of a happy day.
A new school year is here.
(I know this is a bit late but I didn’t want to miss posting my annual first day of school post.)
*A Brand New Familyness Project is hitting the blog on Monday! Don’t miss it!*