It’s 11:30pm, and the clock is ticking. It’s winding down now; summer is dwindling fast. In fact, in mere hours, summer is officially over for my crew, & we usher in the new school year. It’s been a whirlwind of labeling supplies, packing bags, ironing clothes, finding shoes, setting alarm clocks, etc. And in the midst of the preparations, I’m reminded of the one question that I was asked over & over again by well-meaning friends and family:
“So, are you counting the days until they go back to school?!”
In one sense, yes. It’s been a loooong summer. And not the easiest one, either; with The Captain working day and night, all six kids home all day, and the toddlers giving me a run for my money, there’s part of me that knows the start of the school year makes things slightly easier to manage on the homefront in terms of time and flexibility.
Yet… there’s that feeling tonight. It’s not elation, it’s not relief. It’s more of an anxiety, or wistfulness. So despite my incessant grumblings about the chaos of having all six kids home day & night this summer, here are 10 reasons why I’m SAD about school beginning once again…
10. The Damn Alarm Clock is Back. I was spoiled this summer. Now, granted, #6 serves as my own personal alarm clock, but not one did our schedule necessitate the use of the dreaded alarm clock. After a summer of late nights & leisurely mornings, waking to an alarm produces rage within me.
9. Homework: With four kids now in school, there is an endless stream of homework. And the willingness level runs the gamut in our home; we have the ultra-motivated all the way down to one that makes several escape attempts during the process. As a result, my job during homework hour often resembles the work of a prison matron…
8. School means that summer is over, which means fall is coming, which means… winter is not far behind. And that means COLD. And as I’ve mentioned, I despise the cold. I adore summer- I’ll take the stifling heat any day over the frigid polar vortex whatevers that left me a miserable, shivering heap this past winter. To me, school represents the slow, inevitable descent into the Big Chill.
7. No More Late Nights: I’m a night owl, and my older three seem to be made of the same stock. They love playing games and talking/giggling as late as they can get away with… which during the summer, is pleasantly later than the restrictions we set during the school year. With the sun shining late into the evenings, we end up playing longer, which postpones dinner, then postpones bedtime… and we love it. But once school is back in the picture, we all reluctantly part ways by 9pm.
6. The Crammed Calendar: Along with juggling schoolwork, the school also brings about the barrage of sports practices, games, activity meetings, etc. It’s painfully difficult to coordinate dropping off and picking up multiple kids from multiple activities, so the younger three and I basically end up making our minivan a home away from home, littered with DVDs, empty chicken nugget containers, and crushed Goldfish crackers used to coax a few minutes of peace while parked outside yet another practice.
5. Weekdays Are For Work: The weekdays are so busy, and so tightly scheduled, that it’s a culture shock to shift from our carefree, easygoing summer schedule. Gone are the long days of lounging at the pool, or playing endless games of tag in the backyard. No more collecting fireflies at dusk, or basement tent-pitching sleepovers. Our prolonged fun is postponed until each weekend, when we feverishly try to cram every last bit of fun into two short days.
4. I miss the NOISE: Yes, I know. After an entire summer of having all six kids home day & night while The Captain worked overtime, you’d think that I would love the (relative) peace & quiet that descends on the house once the older four are in school. But… you’d be wrong. The truth is, I love the sounds of all six of my kids at home -except the occasional shrieks, whines, & screams, of course. When the older kids are out, the house acquires a silence that is at first peaceful, but then becomes almost eerie to me. I miss their laughter, their chatter, and the rapid beat of their individual gait on the stairs. Although #s 5 and 6 certainly do their part in keeping me occupied, I miss steady hum of our house at full capacity.
3. Bursting the Home Bubble: Though we have playdates and socialize a lot throughout the summer, the kids and I develop an even tighter bond through the summer. I credit our lack of funds for this circumstance; because we don’t currently have the money to send the kids to camp or to take extensive vacations, the kids and I make our own fun on the homefront. Our conversations are deeper. We develop our own inside jokes. There are funny anecdotes about happenings from our days. Home is a safe haven for them. And when school starts, there is always a prick of dread in me as I send them back into the world, hoping that the world will be kind to them.
2. They’re No Longer “Mine” All Day: Yep, it’s that bubble thing. I get used to spending every waking moment with these insane little people. And even though we have our moments, I love being near them. And although the feeling subsides -usually after the first day- there is always that tug of sadness when I have to let go of them and hand them over to someone else for several hours of their day. Especially when I’ve got a newbie, as is the case with #4 this year as she enters kindergarten. And although it’s all a healthy, normal part of their development, there’s usually the tiniest threat of some tears… MINE, not theirs. But I resist. Because no one needs to see that.
1. Time Flies When You’re Having Fun: Each day seemed so long, but the summer flew by. But it’s not just that. The start of each school year means that there is a finite number of golden summers. Another year of school will fly by, and then another… and it’s the sentiment of knowing how quickly childhood does go. It’s the taking of pictures to immortalize this point in their lives, because it seems like only yesterday that each child was a mere infant, snuggled in your arms. Each school year brings them that much closer to independence, & each first day of school is not just a first but a last. It’s a sweet moment, but also a bittersweet one.
Lest you think I’ll drop my kiddos off & dissolve into a self-pitying heap of tears, I assure you that I still head into the school year with enthusiasm, just bursting with my fresh optimism & organizational methods. And day by day, that energy, focus & drive will be whittled away by the endless drop-off lines, the calls for forgotten planners, the rush to overlooked morning extra help sessions, the panicked dash of a late wake-up, and the frantic hunt for the perpetually missing shoe….
© Copyright 2014 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom