The last day of school has always been a bit sad for me.
When I was a student, it was sad to say goodbye to teachers and friends for the summers. Sad to know another year was in the books and that the next year would be different. Sad that I was one year closer to being "done" with my school years.
When I was a teacher, it was sad to say goodbye to my kids. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed my summers, but when you teach, each year is different. You learn to love those little personalities in your class. You build relationships. Bonds. It's heartbreaking to let them go.
Now that I'm a mom, it's really sad. My little one is only in Preschool, but the last day of school marks the passing of time. Growing up. Knowing that I'll never get this year or this age back. If you would have asked me a year ago how I felt about my baby growing up, there would be no sadness involved. In fact, all of the moms that I was friends with seemed sad when their babies hit a milestone. They were happy to celebrate the milestone, but there was an underlying sadness that their baby was growing up. I never felt this way. At all. From birth until about the age of 2, I was NEVER sad when the munchkin hit a milestone. Only relieved to have another under the belt as we marched towards childhood and out of baby and toddlerhood.
Now, I feel different. I think it's because I am not a "baby" person. I LOVE holding babies...and playing with babies...but having one ALL THE TIME is different. It makes sense too, because when my husband and I decided that we wanted to grow our family, I didn't picture myself with a baby. I pictured myself with a handful of KIDS. Playing sports. Activities. Having conversations over dinner. Spending quality time together.
In the past few weeks, my child is quickly growing out of the toddler phase. We can have conversations--not deep, meaningful life changing conversations, but he can communicate with me. Which is so cool! We can sit down and watch a short movie together--with popcorn or a treat. We can share something with him--like bubbles, or building a sandcastle and he is in awe! A few months ago, he wasn't interested in any of that...only movement and physical challenges--which was so hard and exhausting for us.
Now that he is entering that "kid" phase...the sadness and nostalgia has hit. This is his last day of school for this year. I'll never get these days back. My baby isn't a baby anymore, and as we move forward, time will only speed up. How silly is it to be sad about being an empty-nester when your child is 2?!?!
And older adults agree. Their advice is full of, "enjoy it now, it passes all too quickly" and "it goes by so fast" which are two phrases that can send an exhausted mom in the trenches into a tirade!! But it's true. And deep down we all know it. Older women stare longingly at me and the munchkin in the grocery store and I can tell by the look on their face that they are missing their baby. The sweet days when they had their baby home with them. When I see their faces, I know it's real. This feeling that the days are long, but the years are short.
This time we get with our children is short. And then, all too soon, they are off--and living their own life.
So, my challenge for the summer is to live in the moment. Be kind and patient. Be fun and adventurous. And soak it in. Because before I know it, school will be starting up again.
Happy Last day of School to all the mommas, teachers, and kids out there! May you all have a beautiful summer!