I just found out school starts even earlier this year than last year. August 10th.
August 10th! That’s practically still July!
Part of me is happy because a semblance of a routine will be restored to our house, and part of me is… well, kinda sad.
I hated the end of summer when I was a kid. I liked school, and I loved seeing my school friends again, but summer was freedom and playing all day and doing whatever you wanted… and, yeah, occasionally complaining to mom that there was nothing to do.
Me: Mom, I’m bored!
Mom: Go outside and play.
Me: But there’s nothing to do!
You know the drill. Mom lists 8 million things that all sound terrible. (The day before school starts, they all sound better than going to school.)
Gosh, I loved summer. Still do. I also love Christmas, and Halloween, and Thanksgiving – oh, man, don’t get me started on Thanksgiving. Eating until you are stuffed? That’s my kind of holiday. We need more of those.
I also really like New year’s… Frankly, we have a holiday about once a month here in the US and A, so I get a reprieve from monotony all the time.
But summer rocks because as a kid it rocked, and I guess that’s forever.
When I discovered this moment from a few years ago, it reminded me there’s a whole new level of hate for the end of summer.
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First Day Of School 2014
I could never understand why people got emotional or cried about their kid going off to school for the first day of school.
It seemed silly.
The kid isn’t going anywhere.
I always figured, they aren’t really sad, exactly; it’s probably that they are overwhelmed with emotion and feeling a lot of things. Crying is one way of expressing it.
Now I think I understand.
I keep feeling like my daughter is going away. I’m going to miss her.
How can you miss somebody who’s going to be in your house every day, sleeping your house every night, eating breakfast at your table every morning?
She’s four years old. Three short years ago she was just learning how to walk. Two years ago she was learning how to get out of diapers to be potty trained. A year ago she was learning how to swim across the pool.
Seven days from now she goes off to her first day of school.
So many times she wanted to do things, but I couldn’t. I had to say “no.” That’s life. We get busy.
The start of school means there will be less time for those opportunities now. I feel bad about that. I wish I had said yes more. I wish I had made more time.
Yesterday, all she wanted was to swim in our pool and we didn’t even do that. It rained all day. There was too much lightning. What a way to end summer. Couldn’t even go for a swim 20 feet outside my own back door.
So, all that first day of school crying? Silly. It’s a combination of parental guilt and sadness and excitement and fear… School just gets the blame. But there’s also the immense pride at how grown up my little girl is becoming. How excited she is to make new friends. She made sure she had her lunch box and backpack all set to go. She carried it around all day. (I mentioned that school doesn’t start for a week, right?)
Parents feel an undeniable tint on this whole thing that is a steady reminder: with each passing day, the child needs the parents a little less.
I knew way back during those 3am feeding that this day would come. I was warned. I wanted it to come back then. Now, I wish I had more time.
Nobody enjoys saying goodbye.
That sweet little kid that looked up to me and thought I was the smartest, bravest, funniest man on Earth, who enjoyed laughing playing with me more than anyone else, is about to find out the truth
– that there are a lot of interesting kids in school, and, well… dad is still pretty neat, but these kids want to play hopscotch and climb trees and crawl through tubes!
It isn’t over, I know. That’s silly; everything is still just starting. And I want her to grow and explore and become the person she is going to be.
She isn’t going anywhere, but in some ways, she’s already gone.
It’s a tiny taste of what is coming and I don’t like it, even though I’m sure I’m going to enjoy how things are going to be. But that doesn’t mean I can’t also miss how they were.
So don’t expect me to be one of those parents crying on the first day of school.
I did it today when nobody was looking.
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