August 12, 2014

The in between -- seize it

Time to get real. I am not a cry-when-I-drop-my-kids-off-on-the-first-day parent. I have always been 90% excited, 10% sad to see them go. This year I was 1% excited, 99% sad to see them go. Because this year it was all of them, and this year, my life changes. Being a stay-at-home mom doesn't mean the same thing now as it did when they were all here. I'm sure I'll adjust, pick up more hours at work, spend a million hours painting, maybe finally have all the dishes washed at once. But it's sad because it's the end of an era. And that era was pretty good, and I'm sure that I didn't appreciate it as much as I could/should have while it was here. I hate, or do not prefer (in case my dad is reading), when people tell you that you should appreciate that time with your little toddlers, who are right at that moment simultaneously trying to fling themselves under cars and finding every hidden weapon (i.e. kitchen utensils) to impale themselves with and peeing on the carpet that you just washed. But today I can appreciate that sentiment, even though I still think saying it to a struggling, sleep-deprived parent is not the best timing to express it. 

Here are their attitudes about the first day:

Happy to go, nervous about swapping classes, not happy that she got PE class with all 7th and 8th grade girls, excited to have band with one of her best friends.

Nothing gets this kid down, not nervous at all about what to wear or which friends will be in his class, mostly thinking about which snack to pack and hoping that he gets to build a robot. 

Met the teachers yesterday, first day of school is today. Both not sure what to think about school. Happy about getting juice boxes, sad about not playing with Legos all day. Sad that they had to carry so much stuff into school this morning.

This was their birthday a few months ago -- recognize those expressions? 

By the time we dropped them off, they were both smiling. I would smile at the prospect of an official naptime with my personalized mat, too.

Just when I thought I was over crying, literally (but after they left -- trying to act cool in front of them), about my kids all heading off to school, Robin Williams died. How is it possible to be so sad about someone you didn't even know personally dying? But it felt like I knew him. Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting were two of the most influential movies of my childhood, teenage years. I still vividly remember sobbing (shoulders shaking, snot flowing) during the "it's not your fault" scene in Good Will Hunting.

And as my kids head off to school, I think of Mr. Keating whispering to the kids in Dead Poet's Society:
They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

Please do that, kids.

When my mother-in-law passed away earlier this year, I found some comfort and some sorrow in this song, Alone.

Come into the world
And you go out of the world

But in between
It's you and me

I don't know what I'm trying to say today, other than work myself up into more tears and sadness. But also I'm trying to say that I want to appreciate the "in between."