2 words every kid longs to hear, right?
Not my kids.
They’ve always been those freaky super-students who love school and cry on the last day. It’s only since Thing 1 has been in high school (and the homework load has gotten intense) that she’s finally come over to the dark side and joined the other kids who count down the days until school is out. Plus, some kind of grown-up-independent-maturity button has suddenly switched on in her this past year, and she’s ready to get-the-hell-outta dodge and go off to live the large life (the fact that she still sleeps with the same stuffed animal she’s had since age 1, has never done her own laundry and her mama still makes her peanut butter sandwiches with the crusts cut off for lunch every day doesn’t seem to cause her any concern).
Having been a teacher, I know the end-of-the-school-year-blues are largely because the classroom becomes a second family – disfunction and all (especially in elementary school). My kids spend more time during the weekdays with their teacher and their other 23 school-siblings than they do with me (and that never fails to stop me cold and make me realize how much faith we have to blindly put into our children’s teachers – and just hope that they are
as more nurturing and supportive and patient as than I am). Despite the boys who eat their boogers or the kid who throws scissors or the girls who smile to your face but call you weirdo behind your back, it’s home away from home, where they’ve laughed and struggled and grown and learned, and it’s hard to say goodbye to all that.
Tomorrow is Thing 2’s last day in elementary school, and it’s hitting her hard. She’s had a great 5th grade year with a fun and encouraging and cool teacher (her first “Mr.”) and has been lucky enough to have had her BFF in her class for the past 2 years. She’s saying goodbye to a lot of things that signify childhood as she looks ahead to middle school (recess might be the hardest to let go of) and I have to say it’s created quite a pit in my stomach as well.
Time is flying. I don’t like it and I can’t stop it.
I’ve never been good at endings, but it seems like as I get older they get harder and I handle them in a (shall we say) less accepting way (Husband is dying to interject his 2 cents here, I just know it).
Thing 1 doesn’t graduate H.S. for 2 more years but I’ve already had more than a few teary moments thinking about her leaving home and going to college when I know I know I should be thinking that there’s still 2 years left and enjoy them instead of dreading her looming departure from our little family nest.
But life and experience has taught me that 2 years goes by like a good episode of The Bachelor and before I know it, it will be time for the final rose.
Not to mention the fact that my little Thing 2 is going off to middle school in 104 days (but who’s counting?….oh, that’s right – she is – but not because she’s excited about it but because she’s already mourning summer being over. And if this is confusing to you because I’ve already told you she’s depressed about school being over, don’t worry. Hers is a tangled and complicated web of sadness and I should probably draw some sort of flow chart to help make it clear).
I touched on her reluctance to let go of things (like her birthday) HERE, but here’s another example:
Last weekend just she and I spent a super fun day at the zoo and little amusement
“Oh…remember when we were just getting here? I wish it was then again.”
“Remember when we were looking and looking for a parking place? We hadn’t even gone in yet.”
and later, when we were just getting home,
“Oh, remember when we were just leaving for the zoo? We still had the whole day ahead of us.”
I’m sure I don’t know where she gets it from (must be Husband).
But I try to fill her glass back up when she gets like this and say wise Mama things like,
“don’t be sad that it’s over…be happy that it happened” (something perhaps I should write in lipstick on my bathroom mirror or tattoo on the inside of my eyelids and repeat daily as well) and tell her that I know endings are hard but that endings (almost) always lead to new and exciting beginnings (I better add that one to the mirror, too).
And tomorrow when she gets off the bus with red eyes from her sad and teary goodbyes to her teachers (the Mr. as well as some old favorites) and elementary school and all that it represented, I will hug her extra tight and spend a few minutes being sad at all
she’s we’re leaving behind…but then we’ll eat our traditional last-day-of-school cupcakes with the ridiculously happy-to-be-out-of-school Thing 1 (for the 3rd to last time)…and look forward to all those 104 days of summer.
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