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Tomorrow will be the last day of school for Tim. It will also be the last day of school for this mom, and this family, marking the end of an era. Tomorrow I will get up, make my last school breakfast and pack my last school lunch. I will send my (not so) little one off for his last day of high school. A week ago, we watched his last choral concert and celebrated our last music awards. Next week, we will sit through our final academic awards ceremony and we will enjoy our last high school graduation ceremony, with all its smiles and tears. It is but one of the many “lasts” that one experiences as the parent of the baby of the family who is growing up and heading off to college in the fall. Not much is written about the “lasts”, particularly when one considers exactly how saturated the media is with a child’s “firsts”– the first smile, the first steps, the first birthday, the first day of school. You can hardly throw a rock without coming across an article either making parents feel guilty or worried about those “firsts” – will you miss them, will you do the right thing when they happen, will you be there to preserve that first for all eternity?
Hardly anyone talks about the “lasts” associated with parenthood, but they are just as important. For many of us they signify a parental transition from moms and dads of school age children to empty nesters with kids off in the real world. I won’t lie, there is sadness in seeing 18 years of a set pattern of child raising ending and a comfortable routine coming to an end. Despite my occasional grumblings, for this mom, there will be no more high school concerts, no awards ceremonies, no prepping school lunches, signing homework or permission slips, baking for bake sales, and writing absence notes. No more need to juggle school, music and social calendars along with work obligations and meetings. Those days come to a screeching halt with the last day of school. It is sad, it is hard and it can make you cry (and it has for this mom).
However, in my effort to see things in a positive light, the “lasts” are also a celebration. These “lasts” have their own story to tell. It is a beautiful story. The “firsts” speak of the foray into parenthood; they speak of the newness, the anxiety, the unknown and the awkwardness of being a first time parent with all the worry and sleepless nights that are yet to come.
The “lasts” though, they celebrate a job well done. The lasts signify that we are survivors. We have endured our children’s friendships, broken bones, illnesses, academic challenges, teenage angst, stresses and broken hearts. We have survived the teenage years (for the most part) without strangling anyone, especially our children. We have lived through our children learning to drive and stayed up waiting on curfews and the sound of a car pulling into a driveway, signifying a safe arrival home. We have laughed, cried, worried, yelled, fought and smiled through all those years of being a parent. All those years between the “firsts” and the present. We have come out the other side of high school with young men and young women we can be so very proud of as human beings. We can sit back (just for a bit) and be amazed that these wonderful, kind, thoughtful, beautiful, giving, intelligent creatures came from our wombs. We can beam as our babies walk down the aisle for graduation. We can enjoy the felling of having our hearts swell 100x their size with pride and know that we have played a most instrumental part in shaping the young men and women that our children have become. We can send them off into the world knowing that we have done our best.
These “lasts” are wonderful memories of accomplishments and memories. They should be reveled in and celebrated as we embark on a new era in our, and our children’s, lives. Happy “lasts” to all of you and yours!
Today is the last Monday of the school year. I don’t know who is happier – me or the boys. For me, it means that I don’t have to get up at 5:30 in the morning unless I want to. For the boys, it’s the second to last day of exams and that much closer to summer vacation. In either event, believe it or not, it was in the 40s here this morning…..quite cool considering we are at the day before the official beginning of summer. Kids are hanging around here in sweat jackets.
Good thing that I actually looked at the calendar last night. The school calendar. Seems that kids have school tomorrow. Who would have guessed? Silly me, I was thinking it was a holiday. Of course the boys were well aware that they were headed back to school tomorrow from vacation — good thing someone was on top of things. It evidently wasn’t me.
Everyone seemed to survive their first week back at school. “Hell week” at soccer came to a close about an hour and a half ago and there are survivors. Driving around it’s hard to sometimes remember that it isn’t fall – that for a lot of people school is still a distant memory. People are still on vacation and Labor Day (the “official” end of summer) isn’t for another week. The weather this week has felt autumn-y and with everyone being back on a school schedule, it’s just easy to forget about summer and start thinking, crisp nights, fires in the woodstove, apples and pumpkins.
Today was an absolutely beautiful day and from what I see, tomorrow is supposed to remind us that summer hasn’t left just yet. The tomatoes will be happy for some heat and maybe they will react by starting to ripen a little. Tomatoes like heat and this week just hasn’t delivered.
Today is Kiss and Make Up day. Seriously. I really wish I knew where some of these holidays came from, but I checked several different sites and it’s official. What the heck though whether or not you’ve got anything to make up for, I’m a fan of kissing – so why not give it a whirl.
It’s also a National Banana Split Day – not much of a banana split fan. I prefer my ice cream in small batches and no fruit needs to be involved or injured to make me happy – just lots of chocolate and nuts. I am however a fan of The Banana Splits -remember them?
It’s also the start of school for us here in the upper reaches of the country. Two thirds of the children left the house this morning before 7 a.m. — everyone leaves tomorrow. Normalcy (haha) returns to the house – like that will ever happen.
This week has just been….well…crazy. Exams are all this week, so anything that I do has been interrupted by three different kids asking me to help them study something. I don’t mind, but that…combined with 1/2 day pickups and the regular running around – lessons, appointments, etc. has just about made this week nearly impossible to actually get work done. And work I do have….so I just finished researching caselaw for a legal memo that I have to finish tomorrow, somewhere in between trucking kids back and forth, dentist’s appointments and laundry….I see the end of the week, I see the end of school, it’s so close….and yet by the way I feel tonight so very, very far away.
This is the last week for school. Exams this week and then school’s out. Summer will be upon us. I woke up this morning and thought that I actually saw some sunshine. Now that I’m actually up and moving around though, it’s not really all that sunny out at all. In fact, it’s rather gray…it’s just not raining—yet.
The air was downright chilly here this morning. I did in fact see people sporting coats, jackets and sweaters. Fall is in the air and I keep looking for the first signs of leaves changing. It seems that as abruptly as summer finally arrived, it is also leaving Vermont. I don’t mind since autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. School seems like a success since everyone returned yesterday in happy moods with smiles, eager to chatter on about their new teachers, classes, and the like.
I am still in the process of reassembling everything in the house after vacation preceded by weeks of various different camps and activities. Maybe things will be all in their place soon.
Relaxation is over. The RVs have been returned and the vacation is but a memory. Today I am wading through the contents of two trailers, plus all of the kids’ clothes and paraphernalia that has been accumulating in our den/laundry room through the summer, the canoe trip, the week at scout camp, the soccer camps, the electronics camp and now finally, vacation. Add to the mix, just for fun, the fact that our house is undergoing some renovations at the same time, and literally I cannot find a thing. I hope that someday I will find the things that I have pretty much given up on locating, figuring that they are the things that are hidden well underneath the piles that have been growing here and there.
Be that as it may, tomorrow is the first day of school. For the little one (relaxing so nicely in the photo above) tomorrow is his first day in middle school. For the oldest, it is the first day of high school. (Boy, do I feel old – high school!). The middle guy is entering 8th grade. Everyone is well back in the swing of things as soccer practice started for the 7th and 8th graders yesterday and TJ rejoined his team yesterday after coming back from vacation. Tomorrow is his first scrimmage. We have left the comfort and ease of summer’s lazy days for the more hectic, crazy days of school and fall sports. Our days are no longer our own, but at least we went out with a nice, lazy week at the beach.
I love the fall, the start of school, the beginning of a new year of sorts. I guess that it is perpetual student in me that thinks the year starts more at the beginning of the school year rather than at new year’s. Oh, and by the way, the weather tends to agree since evenings are forecast to dip into the 30s on Thursday night. Brrr…winter cannot be far behind.
I have been beside myself for several days since our middle son, who was so anxious to go to his new middle school, came home after one class both mornings since he had been vomiting. This is classic for him, and we immediately thought it was anxiety or something more to it than “I just don’t feel well”. The school, on the other hand, kept telling us that there was a stomach bug going around and several children had been sent home for the same reason. Persistence and parental instinct paid off with a meeting wherein his science teacher recounted an episode where he was upset over not being properly prepared for class. While I love all the good things that the boys got from their catholic school education, this anxiety that Tyler developed is certainly not one of them. He developed a fear that if everything is not exactly perfect he will get in trouble and proceeds to get himself so upset that he physically becomes ill.
We have worked out a resolution now that we know what the problem is, so hopefully things will get better. He survived a whole day in school yesterday which is a MAJOR accomplishment.