Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back-to-school regrets

Image by Junior Libby
It's that time of year again. Tomorrow, my granddaughter will be heading off to her first day of school (first grade), which triggers all sorts of mommy and grandma regrets. It also triggers a whole slew of memories of similar feelings from years ago, when my own children were heading off to school (albeit, it was after labor day back then).

Why the regrets? Maybe you're feeling them and already know the answer to that question. 

Remember back in June (which doesn't seem all that long ago), when all sorts of planned activities whirled around in your brain? An endless summer stretched out before you, like a pre-tanned body on a beach towel. There was lots of time ahead for days of swimming, outings, play dates, etc. And then it was July... August... yikes... the week before school... And then it arrived -- that night before school when, after putting your freshly bathed and shampooed kiddos to bed (oh, don't you love that smell), you plop down on the sofa on top of a pile of regrets. 

It doesn't matter if you've vacationed in Europe (or Disney), got good use out of your pool membership, visited zoos and museums, laid on the lawn waiting for meteor showers, picnicked and partied to your heart's content. It doesn't matter. Because on the night before the first day of school, all you can think about is the things you didn't do. Time wasted. Time you can never recover. After all, you have a limited number of summer vacations to spend with your kids. Once they're gone, they're gone. 

Lighten up, moms (and dads, who sometimes experience these same emotions) -- your time wasn't wasted. No matter what you did or didn't do, you were there for them. There was cuddle time, play time, reading time, and time to just listen to their stories and watch their "performances". Life really doesn't have to involve a series of planned activities. Sometimes, it's the unplanned everyday things that will stand out in your child's memories. Days like the one experienced by my grandchildren just last week. 

Image by George Hodan

My daughter was busy with the baby while her six-year-old and two-year-old were playing nicely in the playroom when it started to pour. "Come on," she said, "let's go outside." 

Laura hesitated by the door. "Can I really go out?" she asked, a bit confused. She got the okay and the pajama-clad family headed up to the street to splash and play in the newly formed puddles. I can just imagine the smiles and laughter. 

"This is the best day of my summer vacation!" Laura shouted over the sound of pouring rain. 

No regrets, mamas. No regrets. Just hang on to those types of precious moments.

What kind of unexpected moments did you experience with your kiddos this summer?


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