Monday, August 19, 2013

Time is slipping away...

Time is slipping away as back to school approaches

My son says that when August hits summer is over. It’s soccer practice, school shopping, and the countdown to the classroom starts. As I write this it’s two weeks until high school starts and 3 1/2 until we take Selena to college in Indiana. I’m trying to let that sink into my bones for a minute and just rest there. One more child gone from the nest and one remains for me to dote on: one more season of soccer to scream at, one more set of senior pictures to take and one more homecoming dance and prom. One. 

As the kids have gotten older, school shopping has gotten easier. I remember the days of complicated lists full of binders, a certain style of paper, protractors, pencil boxes and loads of tissues. Glue had to be just the right kind as did the pencil style. What happened to Goldenrod tablets and thick, black pencils with the huge erasers? We made it through and now all we need is the 10 cent Walmart notebooks and a few pens and pencils. Easy as pie and less wearing on the purse strings.

I do look forward to school shopping. As I’ve written before, I always made it a special day by taking the kids out separately. The girls I took together and we would shop from morning until evening, carefully searching out the best finds and deals. Hunter’s day was another time. We would scour the clearance racks at the mall and take advantage of back to school coupons. It’s much easier now to find coupons online and stay informed of upcoming sales at your favorite stores than it was when my first child went to kindergarten. The Internet is a world of wonder as far as gleaning information for school shopping. It is an invaluable tool for mapping out your school shopping day. I’m sure some people do it over a certain amount of days, but not us – we hit it all in one day. I let them pick a restaurant they want to eat at, and if there’s time, we see a movie as well. 

It becomes harder as they get older to find days to go – practices, work and mom-back-at-work mean we have to narrow down the days until we find one that suits. It’s a fun day that I realize is too soon coming to an end.

College shopping is on the agenda for this season and it’s a bit different than regular school shopping. Sheets, comforters, mini-fridges and lots of laundry soap are on the list this year and I will keep my tears in check until we leave her in her dorm and drive down the road. She is ready to fly and I am ready to let her, but the house will be two people short now. The girl’s room will be empty and my loss of their presence will be the world’s gain. I’ve sent two fabulous souls out there to gain their knowledge and find their place because that is the way of this life. 

I take comfort in knowing I have one left, though he won’t know what to do without his closest ally in his sister. What I think will happen is that he will find the leader in himself for the soccer season, he might like having the whole upstairs to himself, and that whatever food I make will be geared toward his likes. Being the only kid at home DOES have its merits. But as for me in this bittersweet season, I look ahead to what is to be and ever so gently, I look back. You only get one time with your children, so spend it wisely. When you’re overloaded and the house is in chaos, grab a book and read to them. When a great song comes on the radio, you must dance with them. When you can’t take the screaming anymore, throw them in the car and take them swimming. You will look at their dirty, sleeping, ice cream-covered faces on the way home and the love you have for them will be sufficient to go on. 

Take the time. Mark special days on the calendar for time spent with your children. Don’t be so wrapped up in work and money that they grow up and you never realized it. Nothing is more important than raising your children because too soon they are gone and you are left with whatever it is you put first. Struggling with bills and money seem distant and non-important to the times I had at home with my kids. I would do it all again – clipping coupons, shopping clearance racks, and taking the time to find a store with the best deals. I owned cars that weren’t top notch and had windows in the home that needed replaced. But, I would do it again because it meant staying home with my kids. I would do it all again.