Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Hope I've Done Right By Them
Over the last few days, friends have been sending their children back to school.
Adorable first day pictures have been popping up on Facebook of little ones all decked out in their new duds, uniforms, back packs, signs in hands labeled "First Grade" or "Kindergarten"...and mothers saddled with mixed emotions.
On one hand, after a long summer full of swimming, bike riding, dirt digging, no schedule heeding and lots of ice cream eating, it feels like it's time to get back to some sort of routine.
On the other, it means that our children are growing up. Which, I suppose, is what they do. But maybe, just maybe, we could freeze frame these moments and keep them little just a little longer.
And so, this morning, I was particularly moved by a Facebook friend's status update. She had just finished sending her girls...a new fourth grader and Kindergartner off to the races. And she was a crying mess hoping that she had done right by them. She posted an amazing poem entitled "The Summer-Camp Bus Pulls Away from the Curb," by Sharon Olds and I was inspired.
In six days, I'll be sending my 8.5-year old son to third grade and my 6-year old daughter to first grade. It will be the first time that they will both be in school all day long and combined with soccer practice and games, ballet, cub scouts, and girl scouts will spend more hours outside of the house than inside, except when they're sleeping. And, all of it has given me pause.
For what has seemed like an eternity, I've been hyper-aware of the many ways that I have sacrificed for my children. When they were babies, it was the loss of infinite amounts of sleep combined with my breasts becoming utilitarian feeding sources. My house became transformed into a baby land with child proof gates, books, toys, diapers, and every learning gadget under the moon. My dreams of executing my graduate degree were put on hold to stay at home. Leaving the work place changed the face of our household income and reshaped the way we thought about making due and being practical. And then, there have been the sanity checks. And believe me, mine has been tested countless times.
But now, six years later, I sit here thinking. I hope that I've done enough. I hope that I've read to them voraciously. I hope that I've fed their soul and cemented the belief that they are beautiful, capable, and amazing. I hope that I've taught them coping skills and an understanding that things won't go their way and that from time to time, the world really can be an unfair and cruel place...but in the same breath, the best thing to do is to get back up and try again.
And through all of the time outs, the raising of voices, the 5-4-3-2-1's on the playground and in the grocery store, I hope that they know that they were loved. And ultimately, I hope that I've done right by them as well.
Because after all, there are no guarantees. All we can do is try and then try again with a pure heart, good intentions, and the sincere desire to see our little ones happy, healthy, and ready to tackle this new place they find themselves in...and I suppose, that we find ourselves in as well.