I’m done. And it’s only a day and a half in.
Confession: I’m one of those moms that hates back-to-school. I love my kids. I love the lazy-hazy days of summer. I love the lack of stress, deadlines, and strict schedules.
But, of course, kids need to go to school. And when almost-six-year-old Noelle rattled off a string of very important information – in extremely coherent fashion, I may add – on the drive home from school yesterday, I realized how much she’d grown in a year.
But still I sit here, ten minutes before her lunch bell will ring, wondering if she’ll be okay on the playground and if she’ll get back to her class on time when the bell rings and will she like what’s in her lunch, and I realize why my mom used to pick me up at lunch time some days in grade one.
It wasn’t just to help me get used to the long days, though it definitely helped. It was also – likely – because she missed me.
That’s why I feel like driving to the school right now, right?
Sigh. I’ve got a bad case of first-child-in-grade-one syndrome.
I know this stage brings a lot of freedom. But I hear some people talk about all the stuff they get done once the kids are in Grade one, and I think, uh, what? When? It seems busier, somehow. Am I really going to be able to keep this up for the next 15 or 20 years?
And of course my next thought is: wow, my mom was awesome.
No, seriously. She was. She was always there when I got home. She was always ready to talk, even when I was fourteen and I wasn’t ready to talk until 10 pm. She volunteered in all my extra-curriculars, just so she could know what it was like to be me, and so she could know the people I spent most of my time with. She didn’t do it because she was starving for activity, because if there’s one thing my mom has never needed, it’s more things to do. She did it because she wanted to be a part of my life. She wanted to be trusted with confidences. She wanted to be my friend, even when I annoyed the crap out of her.
I still annoy her, I know. But I ‘m so grateful for all that energy she gave me.
Some people say I intimidate them. I’m always shocked by this, because these are usually the people who are so good at all the things I’m not. These are the people I wish I could be more like. And yet I think, deep down, that if there’s anything to intimidate, at all, it might be that I’ve learned that, even with my large, glaring flaws, I’m still worth something.
Because we all have glaring flaws. And we all do some things really, really well. And we’re all worth something, because we’re us and no one else can do that as well as we can.
And the person who taught me that, of course, was my mom.
She didn’t teach me that with her words. She taught me that with her actions.
She was quick to listen, slow to cast judgment. She put her book down the minute I started to talk. She asked me that great question more times than I can count: and how do you feel about that?
She gave me enough of her that I now feel able to give something to my girls. And even when I don’t feel able, I choose to be able, because I want to be that kind of mom.
If there’s one thing I could wish for my kids – or for everyone’s kids, or everyone’s moms, or just everyone – it would be that we’d all be so okay being us that we’d have the strength to let everyone else be them, too.
Even if – and when – everyone else is so, so different from us.
So today, I may feel overwhelmed with activity, but I also feel overwhelmed with gratitude. Because I was given to, when I needed it the most, and now I’m free to give back.