Today I went to school and helped with the back to school teachers’ luncheon. The end of school year luncheon was in the same room, run by the same volunteers, with the same guests in May. It felt like we were just in that cafeteria yesterday saying goodbye to another school year. Did the summer really go by that fast?
I drove away from school feeling so sad. Had we done everything that we planned to do during the break? Did the kids have fun? Why did I have to yell at them so much? My husband says that being an only child I just don’t understand that the bickering is normal… maybe I should have brushed it off more. And I can’t please everyone, right? Why did I let it get to me when just one of them was complaining when I took them somewhere fabulous… couldn’t I have rolled with it a bit better?
When we were on vacation last week I got to see my children through my friends’ eyes. They are wonderful and kind and precious and their manners don’t seem to be as bad as I thought they were (I was convinced Emily Post would have Child Protective Services arrest me if she ever happened to walk in on dinner at our house). I was so sad today that they are about to leave me for 5 days a week to go back to school. And I was feeling guilty that maybe I had been too harsh on them and that I wasted time on discipline/reprimanding that could have been spent having fun.
But then, I came home.
The sitter arrived at 9 a.m. and I asked her to limit the “screen time” today both on the tv and gaming devices (my iPad, her iPhone, or whatever electronic device they can get their little grubby paws on) and gave a few instructions on lunch. She was staying until 3 o’clock so that means I challenged her to 6 hours in my home with no TV or games. She did it (yeah!) but she was so frazzled.
When I walked in the door the kids reeked of chocolate (I don’t think I’ve ever used those two words- “reeked” and “chocolate” in the same sentence) after a later confessed reconnaissance expedition into the pantry. The playroom was littered with thousands of puzzle pieces and plastic horses. My 4-year-old had not changed out of her pajamas nor her night-time pull up for the entire day and decided that this had been a good idea because she did not have to waste any play time to visit the toilet (which she has been trained to use for at least a year and a half). AND reportedly my oldest had been yelling “this is boring, I would rather be at school” at the babysitter, for most of the day (note to self: plan boring day with sitter a week before 4th grade starts so son is dying to start back to school).
Don’t they sound like little angels? Well, they are, REALLY, they are… but I think it is time for all of us to have a little change of scenery. And maybe a little academic stimulation (I’m afraid Phineus or Ferb could be sucking the brain cells out of their precious little heads every time someone turns on the Disney Channel).
As I waved goodbye to the babysitter, whom we might never see again, I thought IT IS TIME. We are all ready for school to begin. And next week, when that bell rings, and the kids are safely in their new seats in class I can reminisce from my quiet home about the Summer of 2012. I’ll forget about any fighting, whining, crying, complaining or disrespectful craziness that might have happened, and just appreciate the good stuff.
It is official. The Summer of 2012 will go down in Kallaher history as fun and exciting, yet relaxing and filled with great family bonding moments. We laughed hard, tanned well (we still don’t know where Chloe gets that dark skin) and tried a few new things too (golf, horseback riding, reading…).
And tomorrow… we are going to iron all of the uniforms, and get their new backpacks packed and if you are looking for us on Monday morning, we’ll be the smiling family in the first car in the carpool line.