We say this every August using the very same words in the very same way. “Where did the summer go? I can’t believe school is starting already. Can you believe it?” Well believe it, that summertime feeling has melted and it’s time to go back.
The teachers & administration are ready. The kids are ready. And we moms are really really ready. No matter how great the summer was, nothing surpasses the greatness of getting the noisy kids out of the house with a clean school slate and fresh new clothes. We swipe our forehead with relief! Every one of our five senses is in tune and knows that glorious feeling.
In fact we feed them, wash them and dress them up in the best of their new clothes, set them in front of the door, the wall, a tree and snap up this year’s back to school photo. Facebook went wild when all our kids went back. Even people who have kids starting school later were posting to tell us why their picture wasn’t posted yet.
So with a mixture of jubilation, pride and hysterical relief we send them on their way. So how helicoptery are we as parents sending our kids off? Yesterday my older daughter and I pulled into our subdivision and right away she asks me, “what’s that lady doing sitting there by the sidewalk?” Her voice held that mixture of what an oddball and maybe she needs help. “The bus,” I said, “she’s waiting for her kid to come home on the bus.” “But,” my daughter replies, “it’s the third week of school.”
Well you can never be too careful, there is stranger danger out there. How different are our lives these days than when we were kids? I can’t ever remember my mom worrying about where I was and we didn’t stay close. But it does beg the question of how much hovering is too much getting our kids to and from school? How much picture taking and posting is too much? Are we embarrassing our kids?
School shopping was the best tradition when I was growing up. My mom would take us downtown and we looked at everything there was to buy, up and down the escalator, from one store to the next, and lunch out, a big deal in my day. We’d get a few things and then end up at the local mall. Because it was one of those standout childhood things for me, I wanted to make it special for my kids. But with five kids, we had to do things differently…every year. The tradition turned out to be that they each had some special time with me, got pampered and fed, dolled up and waltzed home with a small fortune in clothes, shoes and accessories. How can we not love that?
The thing I always liked about going back to school was the fresh start. What I didn’t like was screwing up that fresh start in the first five minutes. My kids are much better than me at the school game, they get it, play it and do pretty well.
Here’s to a great school year ahead…for us all!