Why I'm not sending my kids back to school

I just forked over $8 to use the internet on this flight, so this better be one hell of a blog post about sending my kids back to school, but no promises.

Our little family is getting geared up to head back to school in a few weeks. My oldest heads to first grade, my youngest to preschool and me – well, I am also going back to preschool (most of you know that I’m a speech pathologist by day, right?)

Anyway, we’re all heading back to school soon, because way down here in the south, we apparently like to start school in the middle of the hottest month of the year. Seems totally rational to me. A few more weeks of swimming pools and late night firefly catching sessions? Nah. Let’s get back to some MATH! 

So as we sit here and try to relish the last 16 days of summer vacation, I’m looking back at what made this summer feel so exceptional for us. Because, it truly was exceptional. Not just because of the trips (there were a few good ones!) or the sleeping in (it actually happened a handful of times!), but because for the first time in almost a year, my two sons and I were attached at the hip again.

Back to School Tips for Moms

For better or worse my two little hooligans and I spent the better part of every single day (except for babysitter day) together. Not since my oldest began kindergarten last year and my heart goes out to all you mamas who are sending a little one to school for the first time this fall, have we been so in sync. Of course this has created more occasions for bickering on their part and more opportunities for over-the-top exasperated sighs on my part, but in general, we’ve spent these last two months making more memories that I could ever cram into a photobook, splashing around inside our inflatable backyard pool (AKA the best $30 I’ve ever spent) and coloring more pictures of Batman than I care to admit.

And as ready as we all probably are to get back into a routine and have a little space from one another, I can’t help but thinking back to a morning early last fall while driving to an art class with my youngest. It was just a few days after big brother began Kindergarten and I remember glancing in the rearview mirror to see his booster seat sitting empty. In that instant, my heart shattering into a thousand, tiny pieces – shards made up of equal parts excitement for his new adventure and the hollow emptiness that comes with letting a little one leave the safety of your nest.

Ouch.

But as a dear friend of mine pointed out, isn’t this what we’re supposed to be doing with our children? Holding them tightly now, so that we can raise them up to head out on their own? So as painful as it is to think about getting back into the grind of lunch packing and permission slips and homework, I think I’ll forget about that for now and take this next week or two to soak up as much me-and-them time as I can, before I set them off on their next big adventure.

Because winter the school bus is coming.

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