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As a kid I was told I was "growing up too fast". But apart from needing new shoes often, and desperately wanting to be old enough to stay up late like adults did, it didn't really register.
I know now that that's because I had no point of reference. Because I was changing, learning and growing so much I was hurdling over my own progress constantly.
Now, as I watch my kids on their first week back to school, and I observe the virtual forest of pictures of my friends' kids in the same situation..... NOW, and only now is the surreal reality of the time and space continuum REALLY registering.
"How are you feeling about going back to school?" I ask the kids. Both of my kids responses...... "Nervous-ited".
My seven year old daughter helpfully explained to me that this was a combination of 'nervous' and 'excited'. While my nine year old son rolled his eyes, having obviously thought it preposterous to have to explain the obvious. (insert here: eyes rolling backwards and look of exasperation that only a kid can pull off well)
As I walked them to school that first day I could feel lots of emotions surface in me as well.
1. Nervous-ited for them (I remember and can easily step into that 'first day' experience in my memory)
Man I'm glad I don't have to do THAT again. A whirlwind of uncertainty, unknown and excitement all at once! But without the wealth of experience to support it. In fact, if life was like a bank account, these experiences are some of the first important fundamental investment deposits. They will one day draw from these experiences to remind themselves of their unique fortitude in times of uncertainty. All we can do as parents is be present to support them and mirror their experiences back to them when it helps to see things differently.
2. I was sad and almost teary taking a picture of them on their first day. It's one of those times that you let yourself slow down enough in a moment and be fully conscious to the plain and obvious fact: that this present moment will fly by and be a far away memory in what will later seem like a blink of the eye. A time to take a breathe and be grateful to be alive and experiencing whatever you're experiencing, because it means you are here to experience it.
3. Well you didn't think I was going to forget to mention the jubilation of being without constant responsibility did you?! I felt like skipping the whole way home! I didn't. But I'm pretty sure the smile on my face was a telling one, and between those smiles ........ a wide array of different cheerful whistling tunes....... yep, every parent around understood what that excitement was all about. (A disclaimer for the parents who's kids are struggling of course. Or, the 'Kindie separation virgins' who are having their first taste of separation from their kids. I remember that one, but for those of you in that situation you'll have to believe me when I say "It gets better/different")
I love my kids more than words could ever possibly express. I am also aware that they learn well from a diverse array of experiences, people, situations and dynamics. I love watching them go off on adventures that I know I'll probably know nothing about (because as you may know it can be torturous trying to extract info from some kids)
It's the beginning of new routines and rituals, the luxury of having space and time away from my beloved children. Space and time that will be no doubt juggled with ease and efficiency at times, and at other times pure relaxation or chaos.
Welcome to September everyone!!
May you let yourself acknowledge all the many feelings that come up in the ocean of possibilities, only to remember that you are that ocean, the sailboat, and the sky. You get to choose your response to this adventure that is life. Happy juggling!