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Back to School Mom Blues
(c) 2005 by Cheryl Williams Levey, http://www.cherylsweb.com
The end of summer always hits me with a mix of sadness and excitment, even as a kid. I would look forward to getting back to school, if for no other reason than to have friends to hang out with every day, but I also was sad that another summer was leaving us. When I was growing up, a couple weeks before school started, we'd always go shopping for school supplies and clothes. Now I follow this tradition with my kids, expect we're more likely to gather around the computer and check out all of our choices than we are to drive all over town!
These days, the end of summer and start of another school year marks a tangible time to note how much my kids are growing, how much they are developing, how smart and awesome they are. Each year, as they progress (and as with this year, begin...), I feel more of their childhood slipping away and although this is a beautiful thing - it is GOOD for your kids to grow and learn! - it is also a little sad. No more will my oldest allow me to cuddle him for hours and my younger one is on the verge of pushing away from me too. I can't help but worry that they are jumping away from the safety of me into an ocean filled with sharks, but I bite back my fears and watch them swim with confidence into the unknown. I'm still here, the raft or dock or pier or whatever, I'll always be a safe place to return IF life beats them up (which I pray feverently that it doesn't, knowing full well that, at times, it will).
Yes, my kids are heading back to school, moving up in the world, and while I hear other people talking about what a relief it is for the kids to be back in school (and even feel a tiny bit of that myself), I also wish there was some way to stop the clock. Certain moments.... I wish I could suspend time, or bring it to a slow-motion haze, so that I can savor their youth and innocence and fearlessness much longer than I'm allowed to as their mom with time marching on and on, faster and faster.
I watch as my son hurries into the school yard, wearing his brand new Star Wars back pack, and does the high-five with a couple of friends. It's cool to for kids get back to school and see everyone they hadn't seen since last year. As weird as it sounds, I really miss that for myself. I miss having a set of friends that I see every day, even as I pretend I wish I wasn't there. He'd never admit it, but I'm sure my son feels the same way.
As for my other child, the one who is just getting started, I can't help but feel pangs of loss. He's taking a huge step toward independence and is no longer the little baby that I held and fed in the wee hours with help from my Boppy pillow. He's no longer the little guy who just wants me to watch him and play with him. Oh no, he's ready to rock, especially when it means doing anything his brother gets to do. He'll jump farther away from me much faster than his brother because I can already see that he has that competitive spirit and is already competing to be like his brother. Doesn't matter that his brother is four years older either!
But you know, being the mom and being loved and needed isn't over yet. I can feel my influence shifting a bit, but I've still got lots of years (even as they pass by like minutes) to hang on to whatever small bits my kids allow me to. And I'm so excited to see their next steps into the world of school and adventure.
Cheryl Williams Levey owns cherylsweb.com, a site
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