Today is the first day of school, and I have a lot of…feelings. It’s nothing new, of course. Parents always experience an avalanche of emotions on this big day, and they range from anxiety to excitement, sadness to elation. I’m no different, though maybe a little more neurotic.
But this year, I don’t know…it feels different. Maybe it’s because it’s becoming overwhelmingly clear that my kids are growing up—fast. Seriously, some days it feels like a runaway train. Second grade feels a lot more serious than first and certainly kindergarten, and my 7-year-old son is already past my shoulders. Granted, he’s always been freakishly tall for his age, but good grief. And my daughter is 4 going on 24. She’s also starting her last year of preschool this year, and for the first time ever, she’ll be away from me for a few hours every day. (It’s just half-days, and I desperately need the time so I can work, but still.)
Then again, maybe it’s me. I’ve had a lot of upheaval recently, with some exciting new projects on the horizon but also some not-so-exciting stress in other areas of my life. And my kids are testing their boundaries—and mine. It’s making me reevaluate some of my parenting and life choices. So, yeah, there’s a lot going on, but when is there not?
I think it’s just that today represents so much. It’s crazy, isn’t it? I mean, it’s just another day, for crying out loud. But it’s the day. Yes, it’s the first day of school and it’s time to get back into a routine after a lovely, not-so-lazy summer, but it’s also the day that we can all start over to some degree, make new resolutions and get off on the right foot. It’s like New Year’s without the champagne. (Actually, maybe there should be champagne.) But in all seriousness, today is the day where everything is possible…everything is terrifying…and everything is unknown.
Today is the day that our kids take one more step away from us.
Today is the day that is filled with all sorts of new, wonderful possibilities for them.
Today is the day that is also filled with all sorts of new worries for us. Will they be able to keep up with their schoolwork? Will another child bully them? Will they have someone to sit with at lunch? Will they feel left out or sad?
Today is the day that we trust them to make good choices.
Today is the day that we hope they’re kind to others and that others are kind to them.
Today is the day we hope we don’t hear from their teacher, the school principal or the nurse.
Today is the day that we hope they don’t get their hearts broken or their spirits dampened.
Today is the day that we pray to God there won’t be a shooting at their school. (I know, I know, but it’s true. I’ll also be doing more than just praying this year, but that’s a topic for another post.)
Today is the day that we hope that we’ve taught them everything they need to know to stay safe.
Today is the day that we hope they come home rosy-cheeked, slightly sweaty and really excited to tell us about their day.
Today is the day that they understand a little more about the world and themselves.
Today is the day that they might learn something really cool and find their true passion in life.
Today is the day that we’re excited to have a little more free time to ourselves…or an easier childcare situation.
Today is the day that we also feel guilty for breathing a sigh of relief over that.
Today is the day that we remember that we totally forgot to do something important for the new school year…then panic…then realize it’s going to be fine.
Today is the day that we have all sorts of hopes and dreams and make plans for ourselves and our families for the coming school year.
Today is the day that we promise we’ll yell less and be more patient.
Today is the day that we cringe when we fall off the wagon on the first day (even if it’s just a little bit).
Today is the day that we get a glimpse of what our children will be like as adults.
Today is the day that the goodbye kisses and hello hugs are even sweeter.
Today is the day that we realize our kids are a little bit more grown up and a little less our babies.
Today is the day that we understand just how lucky we are to be their moms.