“There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation and school comes around just to end it.”
Check your facts, Phineas. Or Ferb. Or whoever’s responsible for this erroneous little jingle. It seems like summer is getting shorter and shorter each year. I think that’s in part because it actually is. Unfortunately, it’s also because each summer is, mathematically speaking, becoming a smaller fraction of my children’s lives. When I think back on our past first-days-of-school, it blows my mind how many are now merely part of my family photo album. How can that be? How can the time be passing so quickly??? AND WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME HOW I’M GOING TO HANDLE MY BABIES GOING OFF TO COLLEGE?!!?
Mothers are some of the bravest creatures I know. Not because we learn to annihilate giant wasp nests that attach themselves to the family swing set or single-handedly take on Cujo-like dogs at the park when we see them eyeing our child deliciously (both true stories), but because we stare our biggest fear in the face every single day. We care for our little people from the moment we meet them, straddling the fence between helping them and nurturing their independence. We want them beside us where we know we can keep them safe and witness every milestone, yet we force ourselves to give them little nudges and loosen our grips so they can explore and learn a bit on their own. We remind ourselves it’s for their own good as well as our own. And, before we know it, we find that they’re venturing far enough to be sometimes entirely out of view which, although excruciating, we know is necessary for their development. And we tell ourselves, somewhat mechanically, that everything will be just fine.
And it usually is.
But somewhere between releasing their chubby hands to let them “Do it by mySELF!” and shopping for cell phones so we can maintain some form of connection with them, we look up and realize that our children have really grown up on us. Thankfully, they do still need us. (For the record, I will never stop needing my own parents.) But it’s different. And we, as mothers, have no choice but to accept this change as a “normal” and “healthy” part of life.
If any of you figure out how to do that, please enlighten me. Until then, I’ll be in the back of my closet.
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My girl’s first days …. all the way back to preschool
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This post was created in response to Mamakat’s weekly writing prompt asking us to write something inspired by the word brave. I also submitted it in response to her writing prompt asking us to tell about a first day of school.