Despite the smiles on our faces, there were tears on the day we drove the kids back to school. This is the first year I have ever cried. On any other given year, my head has been flooded with meetings and appointments and ideas related to my work. I was not focused on my kids’ smooth transition into the next grade. I did not have all of the school supplies or papers signed in advance. Sadly, I was typically focused on the clock, wondering if I’d be late for the first appointment I had scheduled. What I like to refer to as my former life, even though I was in charge of my schedule, I crammed as much as I could do in the amount of hours I had to work. Every minute mattered in a way that was total chaos to my brain, and on most days to my family. I literally ran to every appointment and I often bumped into people on my way out the door or up the elevator. The clock haunted me because I could never catch up.
But this day, this year I feel totally present. I’m looking in the rear view mirror on the first day of school, reflecting on how in the world did we create these three distinct beings who fill this car, who fill our lives, with so much laughter and drama all at once.
All of the imprints we have made on each other all summer will now be replaced by others who will become the influencers in our kids day. That’s why the summer meant so much and why I feel a tiny bit scared to drop them off.
We locked in critical time together over the summer and now I wish I could just push child lock and keep us all locked in the car a little bit longer. For the first time, I needed the clock to stop.
So, I was crying for several reasons. I was crying for the summer being gone. I was crying with recognition that this is the first year all five of us have been in the same car together for a school drop off I believe…ever. I was crying at the fact that I have never ever cried at drop off. Ever. It had always seemed so silly to me before. And, I was crying because my babies just didn’t look like babies anymore.
Freshman in high school, Fifth grader and Senior Kindergarten are all big milestone years at the school we chose.
I’m ever aware of the clock but I’ve chosen to not let the time (or lack there of) drive me mad. I’m here in the second week of school and today pull up to drop the first two of three off in carpool line and discover my youngest never put on shoes. We had driven all the way with not one of us noticing. Two years ago this would have wrecked my day. I would have had to cancel my first meeting or pushed all of my meetings to run late and I would have felt behind all day. Somehow I would have blamed the little guy for not being focused enough to do what is needed instead of accepting I was moving too fast to help a 5 year old out the door. This time, I could laugh. I found the humor in how he did everything else to get ready but put on his shoes. I did have to circle the city to bring his shoes back to him, but I’m hoping he learned the lesson on his own without me making him feel any worse.
I can’t freeze these moments with my kids nor can I make more time, but I can sure do my best finding my way to live in such a way that the tick tick of the clock helps me keep the exact pace of time lived out in the present. It is the ultimate gift.