School started back up this week for both of my kids. Friends asked me if I was sad to put my 6 year old on the bus and drop my 4 year old off for his last year of preschool. Yes I was sad, but not because they are a year older. I had that minor break-down last fall when my first baby started Kindergarten and I'm sure I'll have another slightly bigger break-down next year when my last baby gets on the bus. This year my sadness came from nothing more than summer ending. My kids were excited to go back to school, I was not. I was pleading with summer to last just a little longer.
I experimented this summer vacation with just hanging out with my kids and not putting them in any camps. And while I'll be honest, not every day was a picnic, it was a vacation. I was relaxed. What I realized this week is that with the start of school, there is the return of that nervous feeling. I feel nervous when my kids aren't with me. I'm not nervous that something bad is going to happen to them at school, but I feel like something is missing. My kids are missing from my side, my sight. And I have a constant feeling that I need to check my phone in case the school is trying to reach me. Added to that is all of the information I need to keep in my head again for my two kids regarding their schools, activities, and generally very busy lives. I feel the weight of being a responsible adult; an adult responsible for other people.
I spent most of the month of August at the beach with my kids within eyesight. My phone spent most of August alone plugged into a wall. It was nice. I didn't need to worry about someone being able to reach me because everyone who needed me was within my view. It was nice to be able to just be with my kids and not have to answer to anyone except us. There was no bus schedule, no car line, and no morning school bell. It was just me and my kids on our own schedule, making our own rules. I didn't even need my phone for my calendar, my calendar was clear. I guess being on an island long enough actually does convert you to island time.
But my stress is back now; morning alarms are set, lunches are packed the night before, and my phone is always within reach. Its sad to be back to reality, but summers always come to an end. And every year I get reacquainted with sending my kids out into the world without me. When I got both kids to school on the first day, I took myself directly to the nail salon for a pedicure and then the coffee shop to catch up with a friend. I was no longer on island time, I had to watch the time for preschool pick-up, but it was a little therapy for my sadness and also a reminder to myself that back-to-school can't be all bad.