The end of summer is almost here.
Sure, I will miss lazy mornings and unplanned afternoons filled with sprinklers, popsicles and just each other's company. But I know that those have their time, place, and literally their season, and to wish for them to last forever is to hold onto them a little harder than is probably best for all of us.
I'm actually excited for my kids to go back to school—and it's not because of the break I will gain in exchange.
Most of the year is already behind us, but I think the best is before us—fall colors, Halloween treats and the fun and family of holidays. We are back to the routines and traditions that create that feeling of belonging and mark the march of time—a sense of order that allows us to appreciate what has passed and what is ahead of us. For me, the end of summer isn't the end of the party—it's just the beginning.
Here's why I'm excited that school is coming back, even though it means less time with my kids.
- I'm excited for the new moments my kids get to experience at school and bring home to share. The fire that's ignited in them and radiates happiness and energy from their little faces says it all. Their progress and growing ability to communicate in this world inspires all of us.
- I'm excited because they get to be who they are without me. I get to see how the things we did each day this summer have shaped them and helped develop their confidence. I get to see that they can do it, and that they know they can do it—whatever "it" turns out to be. Their little beings and personalities expand to fill the spaces before them, out from the nest, out from under my gaze and instruction. I get to see how they are becoming who they are meant to be, and not just who I want them to be.
- I'm excited because with new eyes I can see what can be celebrated and what still needs attention at home. Meeting new friends and teachers, learning new subjects, facing new challenges—these are what push them to grow, to embrace what they are good at, and empower them to overcome what is difficult. Those lazy mornings and unplanned afternoons in the summer are exactly what made them ready for this time in their lives by resting and enriching the soil where all their ideas will be planted.
- I'm excited to see them thrive. I get to hear about their ideas; feel their little-bit-tighter hugs upon departure and return; smell with new appreciation the sweetness of the tops of their heads when I kiss them goodbye and hello. I get to enjoy munching their favorite cookies with them after school when we are all together again, talking about what happened that day and what a great summer we had.
Someone once said, new beginnings are sometimes disguised as painful endings.
The beginning of a school year can seem like the farewell of another summer that only happens once in our lives. Only having so many of them can make that feel like a loss. But for me, it's a gain—of friends, activities, teachers, lessons and endless opportunities for growth.
And really, isn't this what I'm supposed to want for them? Isn't this what I'm working toward anyway? Teaching them to draw on their strengths, and continuing to encourage and empower them to understand how unique, brave and competent they are—these are the lessons here. All of this is training for the day that will come when truly they will not need me. They don't know it yet, but I do.
So, yeah, I'm kinda excited.