Yesterday was the first time in 7 years that I didn't shed a tear on the first day school. Yes, I'm usually that mom—the one holding back tears and wishing they didn't have to go (but also glad to see them happily moving on). It's bittersweet for sure.
I took the requisite photo (see above) in front of our building, documenting this transition and growth. Jonathan, thinks it's cliché but I'm loving scrolling through my Facebook feed and witnessing the first days of so many of my friends and family.
We were all up early—by the kids' request. It was hardest on me (I got really comfortable sleeping in til 8am every day) and I wished for at least another hour to sleep. But the kids were ready. They had their snacks made the night before, got ready without my needing to prompt them, then they happily gathered their things and carried them off. They were looking forward to the new teacher, seeing their friends, and the new experiences of their next grades. How can I make this energy and participation and joy last?!?!
While my family and I love the first days of school, I know that before too long our mornings could devolve into rushing around, raised voices, frustration and tears. That was a pattern for too many years than I'd like to admit. (Apologies to the series of young couples that lived next door and moved away that I always felt we drove away by our crazy morning chaos. Hopefully if they have kids one day, they'll understand).
After a summer that felt like the perfect combination of structured time (a few weeks of camp so we could work), movies, travel, free play and togetherness, this fall feels like a real opportunity. It's a fresh start and one of the reasons I love this time of year.
But, after school things had already shifted dramatically. We had conflicts almost immediately and I thought, “that was quick!” and imagined what the rest of the year would be like with whining, crying, door slamming (usually me) and fighting. Yes, I'm that one, who goes immediately to the worst case scenario. And it made me really sad.
One of the hardest things is that I blame myself. I am more than willing to take responsibility for my family's unhappiness—and then blame them for my feeling shitty. It's a vicious cycle.
When I heard Jonathan telling the kids they had no right to make me feel so terrible, I woke up. I realized I'm playing the victim and making them responsible for my feelings. And really, they're not. Really really not.
Remembering my last post about choosing, I thought about how I wanted to feel. And I knew I had a choice in feeling victimized by the demands of my family and life, or not. I was still feeling down but also ready for a fresh start the next day.
This morning was better. Tomorrow will be another day...