It’s Back to School time and I for one am thrilled. Back to routine, back to schedules, back to kids using their minds instead of their thumbs (video games and TV clickers have gotten some serious mileage in the two weeks since camp ended). Laundry was done, clothes were laid out and hair was washed as we prepared for Day 1.
My oldest began 7th grade at a new private school but luckily, Andy works there and had the lay of the land down. While it didn’t make it worry-free for Ben (far from it…when an adolescent actually ADMITS to being nervous, you know it’s serious), all the preparations had been made. He had finished his summer reading, had a closet full of collared shirts and even brand new sneakers that actually fit him. I owe all of that to his Dad.
Georgia, however, seemed to fall under my jurisdiction and clearly, I had dropped the ball. She spent the day before school finishing the 10 pages left in her summer math book (whoops), and hunkered down in my office while I worked. A matholympics done at a snail’s pace, she finally finished at 7:34 pm and I told myself that it would be fresher in her memory this way. Before going to bed, I tried to play the part of the organized mom by suggesting we pack her bag for the First Day of School. And that’s where it all unraveled.
Upon pulling the backpack from a dusty corner of her room, I was floored by how heavy it was and as the words left my mouth, I wanted to pull them back in.
“Why is this so heavy? What’s inside?”
Oh. THAT would be everything that’s been sitting in there since the last day of school. In other words…Mom of the Year never even went through her bag to see what she had done in second grade. Everything from her pencil box to her journal and even the note from the incoming teacher on what the kids should be armed with for third grade was in there (I REALLY could have used that before bedtime); even her pink fleece jacket was stuffed at the bottom (mystery solved). To be honest, I was actually relieved that I didn’t find an empty carton of milk and bag of rotten grapes in there too. Guess I got lucky.
It occurred to me that June seems like a lifetime ago. I can’t remember how busy the last day of school was (my guess now is VERY) or what she wore or even what the date was, but life got so crazy that I forgot to stop and savor the moment. I decided to fix that immediately by pulling out her journal and we read some of the passages together. What I found out was pretty amazing.
Georgia won her soccer game 6-1 in September and had fun meeting her cousins’ goats in October. She played with a bunny named Thumper in November, and was so proud of how her Christmas tree looked. Staying up until midnight on New Years Eve made her year and the Easter Bunny brought her hair elastics and nail polish and hair clips (she loves Easter). She also declared that if she were President, she would make a law never to hurt anyone because “if you do you could go to jail. I know you wouldn’t want that.”
I realized that so often as parents, we forget to slow down. We need to remember that It’s ok to say no to volunteering for another committee or to meeting people after work or even (gasp!) to take a day off once in a while. It all goes so fast and while I’m glad that I have Georgia’s journal to keep forever, I’m sad that I missed that moment with her in June. Never again.
After all, I could be raising one heck of a future President. Time to step it up.