When I was a child, I knew summer was over when I slid on a new pair of jeans and felt the confining, new, stiff denim against my legs. I can still remember that feeling. I lived my summers in shorts and swimsuits and jeans meant back-to-school shopping and that was a sure sign that the freedom of summer was coming to a close.
As a mom with kids in school, the end of summer is always bittersweet. It means freedom….for me. It means time to be alone in my thoughts. It means time to work without interruption. It means seeing other moms from school and more socializing. And I rejoice in having time for these things. But it also means schedules and structured bedtimes and wake up times and homework and fewer adventures with my boys. And these things make me miss the freedom of summer.
And yet, as we arrive in late August, I have turned the corner and I'm ready to slip into those long, confining back-to-school jeans. You know it's time for school to begin when the boys fight over everything and you feel like you need a break within 10 minutes of starting your day. And, folks, we are there.
The school clothes and shoes are bought; the school supplies are checked off the list and now stand ready, waiting for school to begin; school lunch menu lists are made; backpacks and lunch boxes once again occupy hooks by the backdoor; and first day breakfast requests have been submitted. We are ready.
Of course, this year means a new school and new friends and new everything for one son. For the other son, this year will be his first year of "real" school, after years of preschool. This year is the year of starting fresh and new and will be filled with lots of learning.
Each August, I write out my prayer for the coming school year. All the newness and learning this year means that I will need to be equipped with gargantuan amounts of peace and patience and empathy every single day. And this is my prayer for my family and all the teachers and administrators we come in contact with this year:
Grant us Peace.
Peace that will give us the fortitude to weather the storms of tears and frustration that come with steep learning curves. Peace that will allow us to let go of the things we can't change.
Grant us Patience.
Patience that will allow us to slow down and take deep breathes as we tackle these challenges.
Patience with ourselves and with others.
Grant us Empathy.
Empathy that will give us insight before we speak or lash out and allow us to see things from each other's points of view.
Empathy that helps us lift each other up and not drag each other down.
I ask these things in God's name and will continue to throughout the school year.
Ready or not, school starts next week for one and the following week for the other. What is your prayer for the coming school year? Over and out…