First Day of School
A couple of days ago, I was walking my dog in the neighborhood and I noticed a beach towel hanging from the porch railing of a house. The empty inflatable kiddie pool in the yard was half-full of water and the sides were beginning to deflate from too much play.
I no longer have wet beach towels hanging over the patio furniture (except the one we use on the dog after her swim). There’s no yelling and splashing and endless in-and-out to the bathroom.
And my summer wet beach towels won’t be replaced with backpacks in the entryway and shoes and socks strewn about wherever they’re removed. The refrigerator won’t open a million times for the starving children searching for endless afterschool snacks who can’t wait for dinner. And I won’t be yelling, “Don’t eat too much before dinner!”
I won’t be sorting through stacks of papers from school, figuring out which ones need to be signed and returned and which ones need to be “saved” (stuffed in a drawer somewhere) for future reference. (One time a little girl from my son’s first grade class called me and told me that he said he wasn’t going to dress up for school picture day. I was glad for her call to tattle on my son because that was the only way I remembered that it was school picture day.)
I won’t be searching for lost homework or braiding and re-braiding hair because “there’s a bump in it.” I won’t be figuring out what to buy for lunches that my kids will eat or washing soccer uniforms at the last minute.
I won’t be wandering through Walgreen’s at 9 p.m. looking for poster board and markers because a project was put off until the last minute.
I won’t be searching for sleds and the best sledding hills in town on the first snow day of the school year. I won’t be pulling off boots and zipping off soaked coats and pants to hang over chairs to dry off in the kitchen, only to put them all back on again in an hour.
I won’t be driving the mini-van taxi from school to soccer to tennis to piano lessons to home to friends to wherever for several hours every day. I won’t be sitting out on an athletic field wrapped in a sleeping bag to cut the freezing wind that seems to occur only on athletic fields.
I won’t be wiping away tears over the slight of a friend or trying not to laugh at fart jokes at the dinner table. I won’t be cheering victories or A grades or new friends or personal accomplishments.
I won’t be doing any of these things because my children are young adults. I love them and enjoy them more than I can describe. I can’t say I loved every minute of having three kids, two years apart. Sometimes it was frustrating, maddening, always tiring and seemingly impossible. But, my life was and is enriched in immeasurable ways by having the privilege of being responsible for a few short years for these lovely children. And, as most parents say, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.