August 2016 Favorites
This was the month that started with peaches and humidity and heat and never-ending afternoons of listless children, and ended with a quiet house.
The month of back to school.
It's a month where you're like auuuuggggghh will school just please start?! Because your husband's back at work and the kids have done everything to death, and you love having them home, but you kinda feel like you've already done everything, and the days start getting shorter and other people's kids are already in school, and the whole house and yard are filthy and worn out and they look as tired as you feel. You open the door and wonder, "Should we eat outside tonight?" But the crickets are already going, and you kind of just want to get the kids to bed so you can clean up so you can get back to work on that project you've been not making progress on since school let out months ago.
I'm all for savoring every last drop, but there comes a point, when some people are back on the school year schedule and other people aren't, it's just...is it OK to admit I am ready to be either all on summer, or all on school year? I'm the last person to be released from 24/7 summer duties. And I'm tired. Like SO tired. I'm still pumping an hour every night to feed Eloise, which means after that I am sleepy and don't want to leave the couch and if I've already cleaned up dinner, then I have about one hour left before I have to head to bed or risk feeling like ripping all my hair out by 5:30 pm the following day. Between the day Geoff starts back and the day the baby starts her very first 2-day-a-week afternoon care -- it will be ONE MONTH.
Yes, you read that right. One MONTH of transitioning people back from summer to school year. All the shopping, preparation, and emotional releases in the morning, only to sling back into summer mode for the rest of the day. I really do not like being in this kind of limbo. But...as always, we make the most of it.
Just because I'm crabby about all this doesn't mean the kids need to know or miss out on their last little sweet summer bitty days, right? I remember my mom saying once that she was sad summer was over because it meant we couldn't just go get Frostys at Wendy's in the afternoon. Well, I mean technically we could, but I think what she meant was that she missed being able to have the freedom to go get Frostys whenever it suited, instead of having other powers in control of our time. I didn't really get what she meant as an 11-year-old, but I really get it now.
And the cool part is, you know, you don't have to go to Hawaii to make a little fun with your day. You can just go to Wendy's. Or take a walk down a different block and have extra patience while they pick all the unfamiliar flowers. The closer you are to the ground, the wider the world looks. I just have to keep remembering that and perfecting the Art of Letting That Be Enough.
There's a temptation, when you've been successful enough in life to give your kids more than you had, to do just that. But the past year or so I've been trying to scale things back a bit. To let small things be enough. To remember that to little ones, anything is exciting. I have to keep reminding Geoff of this, too. I think if we give them too much too soon, we risk them becoming unmotivated or unfascinated with the world. We deprive them of the opportunity for increasing delight, for gratitude, for striving and goal-making.
I have to keep remembering what I told my mom the first time I had an Oreo, which happened at a playdate when I was three years old. I remember that Oreo that Jenny's mom gave me as slightly bigger than the size of my palm. And as I grew, I still remember it being palm-sized. One day my mom finally told me that no, it really was just a regular-sized Oreo. And it made me realize why childhood is so magic sometimes. Just by the sheer nature of size, children see the world through a fish-eye lens. Imagine living in a world where you are constantly growing, and the relative distance and size of the world changes around you. Wouldn't you be fascinated, too, just by what's around you?
I know I certainly was, and still am. At home, in the world, and in school.
Now I get to see them see it, too.
One final note before the photos. In here you'll see Cannon's first day of first grade. But also Gracy's first day of 4K. I don't know why this was so emotional, because she was only going 2-3 mornings a week, and she'd just done 3K the year before. I think this year it just seemed like "real" preschool whereas last year it felt like morning daycare. The school treated 3K as preschool and not daycare, but I guess in my mind I think of 4K as the last step to school school, you know? I don't know. It was hard for me to drop her off that day. I was that parent following her into the room with a camera as everyone got settled, that last to leave. And before I did, I motioned her over for one last kiss through the door crack, then took that last picture of her in the door, so confident and ready to learn. And that's the goal, of course. I'm so proud of her. I didn't expect to, since I didn't last year, but this year I cried when I dropped her off. And I actually cried every morning I dropped her off for several months thereafter. But, like her, I'm also seeing a new world from a new perspective. And I'm still growing, too. But for now, I'll take that one last kiss.
And I will Let That Be Enough.
This is what I saw.