Hello, friends, and happy new year! As all mamas of school-aged children know, the new year actually begins with the beginning of the new school year. Even if you don't have kids in school or a job that coincides with the school year, September feels like a new start, doesn't it? Summer is different, a departure, in some ways, from real life, and with summer coming to a close, it feels like it's time to get back to the business of regular, every day life.
About a week ago, someone asked me if I was "ready to send the kids back"* [to school]. I didn't answer, because it's complicated.
Physically, yes. All of the school supplies were labeled and in all of the backpacks, masks hanging on hooks, lunch money accounts funded. All of the forms had been completed and (electronically) returned. The kiddos had clean clothes that (mostly) fit (that Bubby--just keeps growing. And doesn't seem to mind wearing too-short pants). We had their class schedules and bus schedules. They, and I, were, and are, ready.
Emotionally, not even close. This school year. I dunno, man. It's all so strange, and it seems like it could go poof, and be gone, in an instant. I don't do well with that kind of uncertainty. I don't know what to think, or feel, or do. It's so ephemeral, and I just can't let myself believe that the school year will continue to unfold according to plan.
In reality, this school year is no different than any other. The future is always uncertain. I send my kiddos off into the world, and I don't know how it's going to turn out. I have hopes and assumptions, and sometimes those hopes and assumptions happen. And sometimes what happens is better than I had imagined. And sometimes it's worse than I had hoped. The future is always uncertain, it's just that we're (I'm) more aware of it this year.
It has a been a long, hot summer. Way longer than anticipated. Hotter, too. I welcome fall and its cooler weather. I welcome the return to routine. But no, I don't think I am ready to send my kids back. I don't think I'll ever be truly ready for any of their forages into the unknown**.
My new year has started somewhat inauspiciously, with my alarm failing to go off. Or, more accurately, my alarm went off silently. Ten minutes later I got a notification that I had missed my alarm. Dude. If you had made more of an effort to sound the alarm, like, actually out loud, I wouldn't have missed it. Good thing my kiddos are responsible. And/or have alarms that actually make the effort to wake them.
On this cool, crisp morning, I did something I haven't in a long time: I put on a sweatshirt and yoga pants. I slipped into my chicken boots, and I walked with my 7th and 12th graders in the gray early morning light to the end of our driveway. The bus pulled up, and I sent my kiddos off to school, into the world, with an I love you and a prayer.
Happy new year.
* Let's give the questioner the benefit of the doubt, and believe that she didn't mean to imply that I wanted to get rid of by kids by sending them away.
** Anyone else have that song in their head now?