Getting Back into Fighting Form

Photo: Two little boys. First day of school. Are they bigger? They are certainly sassier…

I don’t know how, but the First Day of School is old hat for us now. I remember those years of being too precious about it: new shoes lined up, outfits chosen three days in advance, backpacks packed and repacked, snacks all extra special…

This year, we got back from Maryland the Sunday before, celebrated The Husband’s birthday on Monday, went on a Whale Watch on Tuesday, and then woke up on Wednesday for the First Day of School. Tags were still on backpacks until I remembered to snip them off 10 minutes before the boys bolted out the door, 10 minutes late.

Lordy.

It’s probably not a bad thing, really. I think? Maybe I’m making excuses for myself. I mean, we packed the summer so full that we were doing summer stuff until the last possible moment. Seems like a Mom Accomplishment to me. But then again, was I supposed to savor the moment? Am I teaching a bad lesson? Lord knows the Spring went like whoa, then we went screaming into Summer, then we screamed through Summer, and now here we are, Fall, still screaming.

“It’s just the season of our life right now,” I told my husband. “This is their age and this is how we deal with it.”

That’s what I told him. I’m not sure if I’m making excuses. “Excuses” is a strong word, but that’s how I feel. I know this probably could have gone differently. I’m strangely satisfied with how it went, but I have a sinking feeling that this might have an unforeseen consequence at a later date.

Is that not motherhood in a nutshell, Dear Reader?

The time away was actually restful. I took a whole week to be with my Mom and be without husband or babies and it was glorious. Mom and Dad were really helpful–they didn’t ask me for much, they encouraged me to sleep, they encouraged me to drink as much water as I did beer, they gave me space to read and space to knit, they kept the light on for me when I get to see my friend… they gave me the vacation I sorely needed. When I was done and I got all my people back, I was a better mom for them. Rest is a gift.

I’ll say it again: rest is a gift. An essential one. One we should take and enjoy and not feel guilty about.

Of course, rest has consequences. That’s where we are now. Putting the house back together, reestablishing routines, motivating the boys to get to school, prepping the snacks and the dinners, and putting my day back into rhythm is real and actual work. I feel like I’ve said it 30 times in the last few days: “we’re getting back into fighting shape, y’all. We’re going to do better. We’re going to get it together!”

Perhaps that’s the consequence. We all turned on a dime. There was little breathing room between Summer fun and Fall seriousness. We’re all feeling it. So it goes, I guess.

And now what? Well, for now, back to it. In my time away, I contemplated this little space on the internet and what I wanted to do with it. There was a moment when I thought, “maybe it’s time to end this. Maybe it has served its purpose in my life.” But then I remembered that 2020 is coming and it’s going to be mean. If you think things are mean now, it’s only going to get worse from here. We’ll all be asked to do more, to give more, to be better. I think I can use this space to help with that. So here you have me until it’s done.

Here’s to a new school year and the many stories to tell over these next weeks and months. Thank you for being patient with me as I stepped away to recharge.

I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Trish says:

    I think it’s the healthiest thing in the world that going back to school is just normal in your house. A quick picture, maybe a hug and a mention of what you’ll do when they get home sounds good to me. When parents make a big deal about it, I think it amplifies any butterflies or feelings of loss (regarding freedom) the kids may already be having. Kids pick up on their parents’ nerves.

    My parents took zero first day photos of us and never took us back to school shopping except to buy notebooks and sneakers if our existing ones had holes. Did I feel left out, less loved, resentful or any other negative emotion as a result? Nope. I was delighted to spend every possible minute outside rather than in a mall and it wasn’t until writing this that I even realized I’d never seen a first day of school photo from my childhood.

    So do what works for you and your boys. Ignore the “shoulds” and what you see other people doing.

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