I am no longer the mother of young children – my “babies” are in fifth grade, I have a middle schooler, two high schoolers and one in college. Needless to say, when August rolls around each year, I embark on a month long emotional roller coaster ride. All my children went back to school in the past few weeks. I had a lot of people ask me “Are you excited that school is starting back up, or sad about it?” My answer to that question really could depend on the day and time to be honest. The start of the school year is always very stressful for me. I have to get a large amount of school supplies purchased, sorted, and organized. There is always a flood of emails and paperwork to take care of. My children attend private schools so I have to make sure they have the proper uniforms and that they actually fit. Having a child in college, I have to check that he has all the supplies he needs before heading off, including the ones he doesn’t even know he needs (although he only goes to school an hour away, so we have had many a halfway-point meetup to get needed but forgotten items, and he does have a car and a debit card, so I don’t worry too much). I am not a morning person, so the fact that I have to get back in the routine of waking up at what I consider an unholy hour to get the kids ready and drive them to school does not sit all that well with me. I miss being able to wake up in the morning and spontaneously decide to go to the zoo, or head to Cincinnati to visit family for the day. I love taking my kids to the pool and just having fun, relaxing with each other and then getting milkshakes for no reason. My quiet relaxed evenings are now filled with sports practices and club meetings, rehearsals, and “Meet the Teacher” visits. There are books to cover and forms to sign and homework to check.
But then, there is the quiet. As one can imagine, living in a house with six children, there is barely a moment of silence for all of June and July. Any time I want to get something accomplished outside of the house, I have to make sure the younger ones are taken care of and the older ones are actually paying attention to the fact that I am leaving. If I want to accomplish something in the house, I typically have a child needing attention of some sort within ten minutes. I cannot even use the bathroom without someone knocking on the door. I have six mouths grazing for food at all hours of the day and night. Since it doesn’t get dark until almost 10 pm, and my children are older, I can’t even look forward to quiet after bed time because some of them stay up later than I do. In the summer I have that late night “Mommy Worry” when my college age son is out and can’t sleep until he’s home, while I’m blissfully ignorant of his comings and goings when he is away at school. And I never really hear the words “I’m Bored” coming from my children’s mouths between August and May each year.
So am I happy that summer has come to an end, or sad to see it go? The answer for me is simply “Yes.”