Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to School.

The end of summer and return to the school routine is always a bittersweet time.  As any parent knows, the endless hours of summer are a blessing and a curse.  Kids can stay up a little later, get a little dirtier, and linger a little longer in the backyard before bedtime.  But the kids are always home, and underfoot and waiting for you to keep them entertained.  After weeks and weeks of visits to the park, trips to the farmer's market, play dates with friends, and running in the sprinklers, we're now back on a school-year routine. 

Our little ones have been oozing excitement for weeks over going back to school.  Even our teenager has expressed mild excitement about the new year.  During the two weeks leading up to the first day of school, our four-year-old asked us at least daily, "Are we going to school today?" 

Pardon me while I say a quick prayer that she holds on to that enthusiasm throughout her academic career....

I'm not a big fan of Back to School shopping.  I think it's all a crazy marketing gimmick to make you believe the clothes that fit just fine in June somehow became out of fashion and not suitable for public display by August.  But I'm  not a complete ogre.  I do like the kids to have something new to wear, at least for the first day of school.  (I'm a little agitated because this was my mom's mantra when I was a kid.  I hate it when she's right.  But not as much as I hate it when my dad is right.)

Our four-year-old, fancy girl got a new sun dress and some black Mary-Janes to start off the new  year.  The two-year-old dominated the toddler fashion scene with his dinosaur t-shirt and spiffy new Sketchers.  Let me clarify.  Sketchers from the clearance rack.  That were half off the clearance price.  Because I'm not the mom who spends $50 on a pair of shoes that will be covered with pee the second day they are worn.  (True story.) And our stylish 15-year old that gets to pick out her own outfits, selected this beauty for the first day of her Junior year:

I think her Uncle +Mark Grosch would be proud.

The first day went off without a hitch.  The kids were excited.  Mom remembered to pack lunches the night before.  Nobody cried.  The little ones gave big hugs to every teacher they saw.  They put their lunchboxes away and waved goodbye to mom without a second glance.  Granted, it's not a new school or even a new teacher for either of them, but they handled the transition back to school like champs. 

For this year, we will enjoy the fact that we have three kids going to two different schools.  Next year we'll be busing kids in three different directions.  I will savor the final year of preschool for my soon-to-be 5-year old and relish the extra time we have before we she enters the true rat-race of "real" school, kindergarten and homework.  We will work hard to cherish the last two years of high school and live in the moment without fretting about the logistics and financial implications of launching a soon-to-be young adult off into the world (Read: College.  That's where we're launching you to, kiddo.  Not the traveling circus or surf school in Bermuda, just to be clear.)  And we will remember to be patient and diligent about Finding the Joy while raising an energetic two-year-old boy.  Please, Lord.  Let us find patience.  Every. Day. 

Someone asked my younger daughter this week about her school and if she liked it.  "So much I want to give it a big kiss!" was her reply. 

I think it's safe to say the sweet part of starting school outweighs the bitter end to our summer.  Happy new year kiddos!

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