One more week until school starts…

As my kids have gotten older, I’ve begun to enjoy summer vacation more. Instead of driving them to daycare or having a sitter, the girls have been old enough now, for several years, to tend to themselves during the day while I am at work. And since I don’t have to get anyone ready for anything, I can leisurely get up in the mornings, make myself a cup of coffee and a breakfast taco and then hit the road. My drive to work is also nice because no one cares what I am listening to on the radio (these days it’s mostly podcasts).
Today begins the final week of that.
Next Monday, I will be getting up earlier and making sure two sleepy girls are up and getting ready for their First Day of 6th and 9th grade. Instead of making breakfast for four daughters, I will make it for two as I pack lunches for all of us and we pile into the car. The older of the two will undoubtedly declare that the front seat belongs to her, because you know – the oldest always get the front seat, and then we will head into town where I will deposit them at the middle and high school before driving away and squashing the little bit of anxiety that comes with knowing they are new fishies in a bigger pond.
And so it goes… another year will begin – filled with choir concerts and field trips, lost lunchboxes and PE excuse notes… There will be homework to check and permission slips to fill out and birthday party invitations… there will be carpools and late nights meeting the busses after competitions. There will be bakes sales and canned food drives and I’m willing to bet, there will even be a detention or a principal visit or two.
It’s all a bit like an old hat.
But it’s like an old comfortable hat… it’s a much better fit than that new hat from those first few years of school with all of the chaos, confusion, and learning how everything works. I remember trying to figure out how to handle all of those sick kid days, kicking myself for forgotten homework folders, wiping away the tears of frustration that come with a plate too full. I appreciate so much more the age I am in now, with older kids who have to shoulder some of the responsibility of themselves as they learn to start navigating the world of self sufficiency. So while I know I will be missing my podcasts so we can all listen to whatever is on pop top 40 these days, I am learning to sit back and enjoy, as much as one can, this bittersweet time in my life. Watching the last of my girls grow up and missing the grown up girls who have gone.