Over the past few weeks, as another school year comes to a close, I have been seeing more and more posts and comments from parents bemoaning the fact that their kids will be home for the summer. Look, I get it… it’s hard to keep them busy. As a Work At Home Mom, it’s much more difficult for me to get my job done while they’re running roughshod around the house all day than when they’re in school. Moms who work outside the home don’t have it any easier either; trying to find affordable places to care for them and things for them to do while being away from home during work hours is a challenge. Aside from a few weeks at camp, my three youngest will be home this summer and will look to me to be a constant source of entertainment and food. The “I’m bored’s” and “Can I have a snack’s?” will be on a continuous loop. The refrigerator door will be opening and closing a hundred times a day and they’ll be traipsing in and out of the house with dirty wet feet letting the bugs in and the air conditioning out. But, you know what? I’m absolutely OK with that. As a matter of fact, I’m truly looking forward to it and here’s why:
My oldest son graduated from college last May. My whole family traveled down to Texas to attend the ceremony… the culmination of four years of hard work on his part and four years of support (emotionally and financially) and worry (try waiting on a text reply or phone call when your child is thousands of miles away… enough said) on my part. I can not even begin to describe the amount of pride and love I felt as I watched him walk across that stage to receive his diploma. That cliche “my heart was bursting” doesn’t even come close… it was an immeasurable wave of emotion. As we headed to the airport to return to New York it hit me… we were leaving and he was STAYING there in Texas. I mean really staying… as in Texas is now his home; he will live and work there for at least the next few years and who knows where after that. I was so much more emotional (read sobbing mess) leaving him behind there to start his new “adult” life than I was when he left home for college. At least while he was in school there was still a level of attachment/dependence and he still came home to visit on holidays and summer breaks. And while I’m so happy for him and excited for his future, I still can’t help being overwhelmingly sad that this chapter of his/my life has come to an end. His home is not under my roof anymore. There are no more summer vacations from school for him and no more long stretches of time with our family being all together. I am mourning the loss of this time and know that from here on out I will always be longing for those stressful yet beautiful chaotic summer days with him… days that will never again be so readily available.
So bring on Summer vacation, I’ll take every minute I can get with my kids! Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not going to be all rainbows and glitter. I’m sure there will be days when my patience will run thin. They’ll leave messes all over the house, argue with me and each other, and more than once I’ll wonder how many days are left until school starts again. BUT in those trying moments, I will remind myself of this: Every single second of every single day our children move further and further away from us and toward lives of their own.
Try to embrace and enjoy the summer days with your children as much as you can because before you know it… and sooner than you want… you’ll be left with only yourself to entertain, no dirty wet footprints to wipe off the floor, and opening the door to a much emptier refrigerator. And Summer will be just another season.