You would think with 15 “first day of schools” under my belt (41 if you multiply that by the number/ages of the kids I have) that I would have this down.
Well, you would be wrong, and I proved it in spectacular fashion this morning.
All good first day of schools start the night before and for the moment, I was on top of my game. Outfits picked out, school supplies packed, and most importantly, my offer to not only drive my three high school age kids to school, but also to start them with a healthy breakfast of egg sandwiches.
Fast forward to the morning, the house is up and humming with showers and coffee brewing. New clothes are being buttoned up and instruments and sports bags are loaded into the car. The prerequisite pictures on the front porch are taken and we are ready.
“Time to get in the car”, I bellow. As I pass my son in the kitchen, I hear him say, “I think I’ll just have a banana.”
My daughter stands at the kitchen sink, quickly wolfing a bowl of cereal.
“Didn’t you eat breakfast?”, I ask my son as he heads to the car. “Uh, no, I was waiting for you to make the egg sandwiches. I saw you make our lunches and then it started to get late so I figured the eggs were a no go.”
“OMG I cry, I did say that didn’t I, now none of you have had breakfast? First day of school fail, happening right here, right now! As they all pile into the car, I run back to the kitchen and fling open the cabinet doors (who knows what one will find after a summer of teenagers in the house) and there right in front of me like a gift from above is a box of granola bars. I jump in the car and toss the box into the back seat complete with my profuse apologies.
After dropping the kids at school I continue to the supermarket lost in my own sadness. While I should be happy that my children are self-sufficient and understanding of my obvious flaws, I am still shocked that not one of the three asked about breakfast. Maybe they weren’t really hungry I humor myself, or perhaps they sensed that no matter how many first day of schools a mother pretends to be ready for they are most definitely not easy.
While I bawled my eyes out the first time each child climbed on the big yellow bus for the first time, I will admit the first day of school does get easier, however, for me the first day of school will always bring some tears. Today I cried to a song on the radio on the way to the store, my eyes filled up twice while I was shopping and I am irrationally, I know, beating myself up about breakfast. This of course spins itself into what kind of parent I am, what am I doing with my life when the kids are gone, why is time flying by so fast, I really miss when they were little, etc… if you have kids, you know the drill.
As I drag the groceries into my now very quiet, very empty house, the familiar ding of my message notification goes off in my pocketbook. I jump at the phone (melting ice cream be damned) and there at 8:28 a.m. is a message that brings tears of joy. Yup, this simple request from a 15 year old boy who is missing me too! It read:
Sometimes I think we forget to feel bad about stuff. We spend time pushing the feelings down or humoring ourselves that this doesn’t really hurt.
I am lucky that they are happy, healthy and capable young people but the nostalgia for the days that they were more dependent and needy wreaks havoc on these “first days”. A simple text message from my no longer “little boy” reminded my nostalgic heart that he misses me too on this first day of school.
Any marker of time brings with it a host of emotions, fortunately the sadness is often just waiting for the right moment to become laughter.
Here’s to a good school year!