It has been said that having children is like wearing your heart on the outside of your body. No other time of year brings this closer to reality than the end of the school year.
For those who do not have children, I will paint you the picture. The end of the school year is this time where as a parent, you are running a marathon worth of short sprints. There are end of year projects worth half a grade, recitals, sports events, exhibitions, class party, birthday parties, end of year party, teacher presents, graduations, move-up days from elementary to middle school, class sign up for high school, sports sign up for next year, and many more events. It is as if you took the whole year of events and rolled it into this 7 week time frame that would rival the President’s calendar.
In the midst of this crazy schedule where most parents describe it as ‘treading water’ or ‘just surviving until summer break’, there are major life transitions happening. If you blink, you miss it.
One child is graduating from Preschool into Kindergarten. A major milestone where you realize you no longer can call your child a baby. One child is graduating from Kindergarten to 1st grade. Further cementing the fact that diapers and bottles are a long thing of the past. Another is moving from elementary school into middle school, where you watch your young child begin to blossom into a young lady or young man. Maybe you are watching your child cross a podium from high school to college. Where they will physically leave your home where you have lived together for 18 years. Maybe your child is accepting a diploma across a college stage, where they are now going to be expected to be a full adult.
I once told a friend that from the moment of birth, your child is taking little steps away from you with each passing milestone, each passing year.
It’s healthy and natural. It’s what every parent strives for when having kids. To be able to help shape this tiny human into a positive force for society and community – a healthy adult able to take care of themselves and bring joy and happiness into their life and the lives of others.
Boy! Is it hard!
What we often do not see at the beginning of the journey of having kids, is how much they shape us parents. And I don’t just mean a changing of the color of my hair from a vibrant blonde, to a brunette, to gray. Or the permanent black circles under my eyes from years of sleep deprivation and worry either!
What parents get to experience is the action of literally, wearing your heart on your sleeve. Allowing for all that is good, bad, ugly, and beautiful in the world to affect your walking, living, breathing heart on legs – your child.
Recently I was driving my youngest to school and we were ‘stuck’ behind two very large trucks that were painting the lines on the middle of the road. These trucks move VERY slowly and there were very frustrated drivers behind us. I happen to be the first car right behind the painting convoy. Ah…well, we were going to be a little later getting to school, no doubt about it. Luckily, this fact wasn’t going to ruin anyone’s day. In fact, my son and I enjoyed watching the truck do it’s thing. We talked about all kinds of stuff in that very slow drive into school that morning. And as I drove and we talked, I realized that next year, he goes to Kindergarten. He and I will no longer have these morning drives together, just the two of us.
So while honks came from the cars behind us, my son and I laughed and talked about all kinds of things that 4 year olds like to discuss. We talked about the wonders of the universe, Hot Wheels cars, as well as what he’ll do when he gets to go to ‘big kid school’ next year.
This little heart of mine, reminded me that being who I was before kids isn’t bad, and it isn’t better. It’s just that now, because my heart is on the outside, I look at the world a lot differently. Being late may not be the worst thing. But missing time with my littles on their journey, quite possibly is.
The CoffeeMaker and Editor