The count down has begun. Unlike the beginning of summer, I have made it a point not to think about our last week before school starts. Yet here it is upon us now, filling me with dread. I think I started counting down the days until summer probably a month and a half in advance. That feels like a lifetime ago. I have enjoyed my little people ever so much all season long. Having full access to them without following anyone else’s routine or schedule has been my own piece of Heaven on Earth. Now, now, I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of panic and sadness. I only have six days left before I have to hand them over for hours at a time to someone else who gets to enjoy their delicious smiles and delightful quips. Sure, they will be happy and thoroughly enjoy themselves, but I selfishly want them with me planning our adventures and embarking on them with whole-hearted glee. I don’t want summer to end. I don’t want to not have all three babies filling up every part of my day from start to finish. I relish them and their wonder. I’m addicted to my kids. I’m addicted to their faces, their smells, their candor, and their silliness. I need them like I need to breathe.
I will be the one on the first day of school trying to put on a brave face while I’m kicking and screaming inside. I visualize myself holding on to their pants legs while they drag me down the hall, begging, “Please don’t go! Please don’t leave me!” instead of the other way around. I’ve heard from so many moms how ready they are for school to start and how they can’t wait to get back to a routine where they have alone time and don’t have to entertain their kids. They must think I’m certifiable, a loon. No, our days aren’t perfect “Sound of Music” outings or “Mary Poppins” lessons. We are real, live people experiencing time-outs and frustrations mixed in with pure and utter joy. We have issues and moments just like anyone else and, yes, there are days when I need a mommy-break. I can honestly say I have missed wine and beer during this pregnancy and the calming effect a glass of each of them has to take the edge off an insane day. I enjoy quiet moments I can snag for myself to collect my thoughts and not have to be “on”, but I’m not ready for that to be full-time yet. I want this crazy, busy, insanely ambitious and often rewarding existence with all three kids all to myself without having to make room for anyone else if we don’t want to.
Logistically, I should home school so I can absorb, relish, plan, and teach to my heart’s content. It was always the intention to home school when there were just two kids. When #3 came along, it was clear that for everyone to get a fair shake, we would have to enroll Princess in Kindergarten. I cried nonstop for days and stalked her the first week of school doing drive-bys two or three times a day. We’ve gone back and forth with the notion of homeschooling, but have always left it up to her. It’s a good school and her first grade teacher was probably hands-down the best one I’ve encountered, maybe ever. If there’s ever any doubts or feelings that the kids aren’t getting enough out of it, I will pull them in a heartbeat. Realistically, especially with a new baby on the way, it just makes sense for everyone that we stay with public school for now. And with that decision comes the dreaded end of summer, lazy mornings, snuggles throughout the day whenever I want, and being able to engage with my kids all day long.
The only thing that keeps me going is knowing I get to be here the minute they come home. I have the luxury to love on my babies all late afternoon and night when working parents including my husband don’t get the same. I weep for the parents who only get to spend an hour or two a day with their kids when most of that time is filled with homework and night-time routines. Yes, our summer is wrapping up and I will try to pour and squeeze as much quality time and fun as possible over the next six days. I’m thankful that my job is taking care of these amazing little people and that I get to be present for school functions and parties. I’m thankful for getting to lunch with them anytime I want and look forward to sending them off with little love notes to let them know I’m thinking of them and counting down the minutes for them to be home. I will probably cry the entire first day of school, but these last few days of summer are all mine and I plan on rocking them.