If you know me, you go on the same journey with me every year. However, every year I improve, and I want to share that with you. You see, I absolutely LOVE the summer. The summer and I have a love affair. I love the warm weather. I love the sun. I love swimming in my brand new pool. I love my kids being home with me. Max was super busy this summer, but he was still home in between all the things.
As summer ends, sadness enters me. I get sad and I start crying every day. It isn’t intense tears. I just feel tears fall from my eyes as my soul feels the summer coming to a close. I think there is something to my being a summer birthday. It’s like I chose my favorite season to be born in.
The tears would come, and I would begin talking to myself. I have developed a much better relationship with myself this year. It has taken a lot of work and a lot of practice. When I tell you to talk to yourself. When I tell you to be your best friend. When I tell you to replace your thoughts. I am walking the walk with you. I am a firm believer in practicing what you preach.
I started to replace my negative thoughts with a lot of positive thoughts. I would start to go to that place of, “Summer is ending, and I am so sad for so many reasons.” I would become more and more aware of this and would start replacing it with thoughts such as, “Your kids are going to have a great school year. They are going to grow, and thrive, and learn so much. Look at how excited Ella is to go to high school. What about going to all of Max’s football games and seeing Lillie cheerleading? You love all of this stuff too.” I would talk to myself over and over again every day and I noticed the sadness and tears decreasing.
I also became aware of the fact that all of my sadness and anxieties tended to be precipatory. What that means is, I noticed a pattern every year of my being sad and anxious before school. Once school started every year, I noticed that all went away. As my husband would want to tell me, “If you know that you and the kids will be fine once school starts, why don’t you skip all of that worry and sadness.” I think as he repeats himself to me every year that it finally sunk it. Maybe every year it will get easier and easier.
So, off they went to the first day of school. This was an extremely different first day of school for Seth and I. Max is our junior and he drove Ella, our freshman to school. I was so excited for both of them. I remember clearly how that felt when I got my own car to drive to school. I was reliving that amazing feeling through Max. My friend said, “How cool for Ella to show up in her big brother’s car.” I hadn’t thought of that. What an amazing experience for my kids. I was so happy and excited as I watched them drive off to the first day of school.
I am not going to lie to you. I worried the entire day about Ella and Lillie. Ironically, I didn’t worry about Max. Max is a junior in high school and is such a capable kid. I was worried that Ella would get lost in a new school. I prepared with her. I told her to expect to get lost. I suggested that she stay calm and expect it and just ask for help. It’s good to predict barriers with your kids and plan for them.
Max drove Ella home from school and I didn’t like that I wasn’t there to greet them. I was at the middle school picking up my youngest. Lillie bopped out of school with her best friend and a big smile, and all my worries disappeared. Seeing Lillie smiling after the first day of school was medicine to my soul.
I know how it is after school. Everyone is waiting to hear how their children’s day went. I was extra worried because the schools are so hot!! If only their schools had AC. This summer girl can’t wait for it to cool down. My kids need it cooler in school and Max and Lillie need it cooler for practice after school. Today Max is going to go from a hot school all day to a hot football practice.
Lillie’s report was almost all positive and I was a happy mom. Ella’s report was mostly positive except for a few things. Lunch in high school is so bizarre to me. She was searching the lunchroom for a friend. Why can’t all the freshmen eat together? It’s a mix of all the grades and Ella really struggled to find someone. I think moms worry the most about the lunchroom. She struggled to find the parking lot at the end of the day, and she doesn’t love math and science period. The good news is she loves ELA, Chorus and journalism. She is also going to enjoy global studies. If only she didn’t have to take math and science.
Here I was all day worrying about Ella and Lillie and I got good reports from them. Max on the other hand said it was not good. You know how boys are. He was not about to elaborate on a text message, and I had to patiently wait until after football practice to talk to him. I had to wait, and I had to hope that he would be willing to tell me what wasn’t good. Well, as I had suspected, their high school was way too hot, and he did not enjoy it. They are all in school as I type this on another super hot day.
We all got through the first day of school. We have moved on to the second day of school and I can already feel us all jumping right back into the school routine like we never left it.
What have I learned from this:
It will always be okay.
If they get lost, they will figure it out.
My worry, anxiety and sadness are a waste of energy.
The school routine is good for kids.
Try to enjoy every season and find the good in every season.
The schools will be hot. There’s nothing I can do about it except make sure they take water.
Enjoy the ride. Ride the waves.
I would love to hear how your children’s first days went!
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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