The Goddess Speaks
Savor the kids' school days while you can
A COUPLE of weeks ago, as I left home to walk to work, my neighbors were walking their young son to the elementary school across the street. We chatted as we walked down the road together, talking about his first day back to school and how summer flew by.
As I took a shortcut through the school campus, I noticed its circuslike atmosphere. The parking lot was packed with cars, and parents and kids were everywhere! Some parents tightly clutched the hands of their smaller children while the older ones rolled their backpacks toward their classrooms. Some kids seemed excited while others still looked half asleep. One thing was certain: You could feel the tension in the air as parents and children acclimated to their new morning routine.
I felt an array of emotions as I took all of this in. I flashed back to the days when my kids were younger and I was one of those parents.
It was always a relief when the kids returned to school, but the getting there was hard. Waking them up, preparing breakfast, signing field trip papers. Packing lunches. Missing socks were always an issue in our house.
By the time I dropped the kids off, I felt worn out. Then it was off to work, and before you knew it, it was time to pick them up, and the whole cycle repeated itself again the next day. I longed for the day they got older and my life wasn't so trying.
NOW, THE first day back to school has a whole different meaning to me. This year, Jessica, the youngest of my three, will start her senior year, and soon these school days will be behind us.
The countdown feels momentous. I have a scrapbook and a photo album standing by to chronicle her last year of high school, just as I did for my other two. I will take pictures of her on her first day back holding a sign that I made, "Class of 2007." I will drive her to school as I've done since she started kindergarten. I will tell her that I love her, as I do every morning, and again watch her eyes roll back as she gets out of the car. I will sit there after she leaves and watch her walk into the campus, as I've done so many times before.
But this year, I will sit there a little longer, taking it in more deeply. Closing my eyes and savoring these moments that went by much too fast.
Childhood passes so quickly. As hard as it is during their young years, the day will come when it will be the countdown to your children's last year of school.
As much as you look forward to them getting older, believe me, the time will come when you, too, would give anything to go back and do it all over again.
Carol Lee Ramie runs Island Investigative Services with her husband.
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