I have anticipated this day for months and years and...
Just kidding. It hasn't been that long.
But for about a month, I have been struggling to get to this day, limping along with the weight of four kiddos on my back, praying that we'll make it.
Today is Back to School.
I wish I could be one of those moms that's saddened to send her kiddos off to school. I wish I could enjoy my kids being home so much that I just can't imagine them leaving me every weekday for the next nine months.
But I'm not.
In general, I'm a seasons kind of girl. I love Nebraska because I get a taste of all four seasons. I love the first snowfall of the year, but by the time March rolls around, I'm desperate for flowers to bloom and the days to warm up.
The same with summer. I love long afternoons at the pool and sleeping in every morning. But right about now, I can hardly stand the heat. I need cool weather and thunderstorms and the smell of fire in the air.
The same with school. By May, I am a trainwreck. I face each remaining school day like it will be the day that breaks me. Homework becomes a headache. Getting up in the morning is nearly impossible. And all I can think about is having my kids home with me every day, enjoying summer to the fullest and sleeping in.
I don't know if you've noticed, but sleeping in is a big theme with me. ;)
But I'm ready for a change. My kids are ready for a change.
They stopped loving each other somewhere near the end of July. They can't stand the sight of each other. And the smallest infraction, such as accidentally bumping into each other on the way to brush their teeth, turns into a screaming/yelling/hitting/crying fight.
This is one of those instances where distance definitely makes the heart grow fonder.
So today, they are off. And not just one of them. Not just two of them. But THREE. Three kiddos in school!
I don't even know what to do with myself.
Even with the addition of Baby #5, I'm still going to have more kids in school than out of it. What!!! I've been a parent for almost ten years and this is the first time ever that this has happened.
I had major plans for this year. Like BIG plans. This was the year that I was going to get organized. And ahead of schedule. Deadlines were going to be something I laughed at, knowing I could be months ahead of them.
And then I went ahead and got knocked up.
So goodbye big plans. Farewell organized life!
I'm slowly coming to terms with another infant in the house. And by slowly, I mean... s-l-o-w-l-y. Even knowing this baby will be different because I have four other kids NOT in diapers and NOT in cribs and highchairs and onesies, it will still be an adjustment for us.
One that is made only slightly easier by having more than half of them in school.
I panicked last night at supper when I looked at my five-year-old, soon to be kindergartner and realized I had not prepared him for this school year AT ALL!
I said, "Stryker, do you even realize you're going to go to school all day every day? You have to be there as long as your sisters!"
He shrugged and went back to eating his potatoes.
Then I panicked about him eating lunch. So I gave him the mandatory lecture on lunch and how it's not just another recess. He shrugged again. "I'll eat," he promised.
Then I panicked about him using the restroom. He got another fast lecture on privacy and hygiene.
I'm pretty sure he can't wait to go to school just to get away from his hysterical mother.
And I'm pretty sure the rest of the family can't wait either, because then at least mom will stop talking about bathroom etiquette at the dinner table.
The thing is, my firstborn was so prepared. I even did a practice timed lunch with her just so she could see what it would be like. And my second child was just ready for school. She knew what to expect and couldn't wait to get there.
Stryker is an entirely different story. Plus, he's a boy. I feel like I'm starting all over as a parent.
My advice for him is drastically different than what I gave the girls.
"Just because you make friends at school, does not mean you can punch them. Or wrestle with them. Or see what the tallest thing they can jump off of is."
"You don't have to play with girls. You just have to be nice to them."
"You have to listen to your teacher. You have to. This one isn't up for debate."
"No tackle hugging your sisters if you happen to see them during the day."
"Don't talk about butts."
"And please, for the love, save your ninja moves for home!"
Don't even get me started on his handwriting. The kid is super smart. Maybe the smartest out of the bunch. But his interest in being able to write his own name is less than zero.
He is all boy.
There is no argument there.
I'm sure he'll do fine. Worrying is saved for mothers. Our kids hardly realize there is anything to worry about! I'm just excited to get them to school and see what this year brings.
I love how they mature away from me. How they turn into these little people with personalities that define them. I love the friends they make. And even the challenges they go through.
School is one of my favorite activities ever. (really!) So I love sending them off with their brand new lunch boxes and school supplies in tow.
It's going to be a fabulous year. Even if it's hard.
Even if we're adding another tiny human to this chaos midway through.
And now I can get back to this 80's novella I'm writing. And Love and Decay! And my next adult contemporary romance!
So many things to do. And now I'll actually have days to get stuff done!