Anticipatory Joy

Every September it’s the same.

I run into moms who are either:

  • sad to see summer vacation end, or
  • sad that their child is growing up and advancing to the next grade.

They’re on Facebook and Twitter confessing their own tears as their child boards the school bus. They’re in ShopRite and Target wishing the summer would never end.

And I feel like there’s something wrong with me, because I don’t get it. On either count.

I like the beginning of a new school year:  the new pencils, new planners, new crayons and new notebooks. I like checking the school website to see who’ll be my child’s teacher this year. I like getting the email with the soccer schedule. I like seeing the bus roll up the hill toward the house on the first day.

I also like the structure that the school year provides. Summer is way too loose, too open-ended for my taste, even with soccer camp and theater camp to keep a kid busy on a regular basis.

The first day of school doesn’t make me cry for the loss of the freedom of summer OR over the fact that my kids are growing older.

Yes, I deeply miss the two who are now out of the house (one working and living on his own, and one in college). But I’m also deeply proud of them, and excited about their new adventures.

For me, September is a joyful time. It’s a time for a new start, full of possibility and potential.

While I’m not the parent dancing down the aisle in that Staples commercial, I do think this is a wonderful time.

The trick this year, for me, is to stop feeling ashamed of that back-to-school anticipation and to embrace the challenge of making this a wonderful school year all around.

6 thoughts on “Anticipatory Joy

  1. I’m right there with you, Barb. I always end up trying to refrain from rolling my eyes at the sentimental stuff…and I try to appreciate it. Yes, they grow up fast…but THANK GOD THEY DO. 🙂 And summer is fun precisely BECAUSE it’s a passing thing.

    Hmmm…I think I may need to write about this…hmmm… 🙂

    • Thanks. Yes, I am trying to be kind when people express their sentimental emotions about this. And then I start to wonder why I don’t get similarly emotional–and beat myself up because I don’t. I’m trying to accept that just as God made some people emotional about certain things, he didn’t make ME that way. And that’s OK–both ways.

  2. I’m laughing, because I wrote that kind of sentimental post today! But I had the double-whammy of it being my son’s birthday as well as first day of school, so I’ll give myself a pass on this one. 😉

    But I get your point. It’s GOOD for them to be on their way, and good for us to be excited for them. Like Sarah says, too.

  3. I am all about the Staples shopping experience for supplies. Nothing like structure and new notebooks to complete that happy picture. I was bummed when the school decided to do the shopping for us and sent us a bill. 🙁 So now, I shop for myself. #officesupplynerd

  4. I have to admit, I love September and back to school season. It’s a beginning of something new, and fresh. We’re lucky that we homeschool and I’m amazed at everything that they learn, but I’m glad that they are growing! Stopping by from salt and light linkup.

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