It really is that time again...back to school for another year.
James has been ready to go back to school for several weeks, waking up at 8 am with the pipping question "Can I go to school today Momma?!" If he had it his way, he would have started on August 12th and attended every day, even Saturdays and Sundays!
But this year, I've found myself a little sad to see the summer end and the school year begin. This morning as I saw James off, I gave him an extra big hug and marveled at just how big my baby has gotten.
This photo to the right was taken on his very first day of preschool 4 years ago. At the time, my 18 month old was still unsteady on his feet, had about 6 teeth in his head, and didn't talk at all. How much can change in 4 years? Everything!
It's funny how this summer has both been very short and very long at the same time. Never before have I been slightly caught off by the start of the school year.
While it might sound bad to say that I usually mark the days like a man on death row, I usually look forward to the fall all summer because it means a return of sanity: schedules that keep us organized with a daily routine.
To say it straight: I like a schedule. The summer break time usually grates against my desire to organize things because it's the very definition of unorganized.
But this year I'm a little sad to see the summer go. James will be starting his 4th year in preschool and my mind can't help make the comparison that these 4 years have flown by just as fast as his last 4 years in high school will fly by.
So even though this isn't James's last year in preschool, it's a year that is making me think and take note.
I think this is the first year that James will remember his first day of school, remember the kids he plays with, and remember the experiences that stand out good or bad.
Until now, I've kind of felt like I had a "get out of jail free" card because James was just too little to remember. Why bother with Easter Egg hunt? He won't remember it, anyway. Why bother with the picture with Santa? He'll just cry the whole time and thank goodness he won't remember it anyway.
All of a sudden, that excuse doesn't fly anymore and my big boy is now in the realm of memory and every day is a new and lasting experience. I now need to step up to the plate and start paying more attention to the passage of time and what memories my little boy will grow up to remember.
Do I want him to remember watching TV every day after school, or playing in the yard? Do I want him to remember that momma's sewing room was off limits, or a place he was welcome to play and color beside me? Do I want him to remember me as always working, working, working, or having the ability to play too?
So often when I talk about this kind of thing I get responses along the lines of "Oh, don't be so hard on yourself! You're doing a great job! You're a great mom!"
I might be pretty good, but I could always be better.
From the time James was born, I've managed to do a lot around his schedule, and now I'm going to try to get most of my work done during his preschool hours so after school, at least 2 days a week, we can do something fun together.
Whether it's a simple trip to the park or a longer drive to a kid's museum in Forest City, I know these days will stand out for James, just like the days I spent handing out in my Dad's shop stand out in my memory now.
What I wish I'd seen from the day James was born is that it's never to early to start making memories, but it can be too late.
If I hadn't taken the time to take this photo this morning, I might not have seen and realized just how fast time is passing. In the trenches of parenting, it can be easy to feel like this period of snotty noses and sticky hands will last forever, but it really doesn't.
4 years ago, my little boy couldn't talk more than a few single words. This morning he yelled "Bye bye Momma! I love you! Have a good day!"
We can't stop time passing, or our children growing up, but hopefully we can take a bit more time to notice and appreciate it.
Now if I'm going to make the best use of the 3 hours I have, I'd better get into the sewing room!
Let's go quilt,