This day elicits many different responses from many different people:

  • Shouts of joy
  • Sighs of relief
  • Bouts of tears
  • All of the above and everything in between.

No, the Cards and Cubs are not playing ball today – it is the first day of school.

I have friends who have been counting down the days since the first day of summer vacation, and others who have been dreading this day. From first-time kindergarteners to last-time seniors in high school (and beyond), parents all over the country are finding themselves in the midst of some back-to-school related emotion.

This day is always a confusing one for me. I love my kids. I love having them around. I love the freedom that summer affords. I love being able to have lunch with them in the middle of my work day. I will miss all those things. But I also love routine. And I love peace and quiet for an hour at lunch. And I love earlier bed times and quiet time either alone or with my husband more regularly. And let’s face it, the house stays much cleaner when they are at school all day as opposed to at home all day.

What is really hard for me about this day is the reminder that time is passing. Quickly. It seems like it was just yesterday that Anne was a baby and now here she is going into fifth grade. And I have been convinced all along that my baby will never grow up and yet today Ty began school as a second grader.

My mom always told me that the older you get the faster time goes. I didn’t believe her then, but I do now. These precious moments with my kids at home are short and few and I have to take advantage of the time we have together to teach them and love on them and have fun with them. Which is precisely why I took the day off yesterday just to spend with them doing and seeing what they wanted to at the zoo. It was a magical day (not in the there was no fighting or whining kind of way – that would be a fantasy), but just in the way we were together and enjoyed the company of one another. And while I wish all days could be like that, it is important that they spend time away from me at school so that at some point they are able to move on and become adults.

Thus the confusion of the day which comes with the paradoxes inherent in raising children. So I just embrace the moment (and my kids) and enjoy the ride. Because even though it can be a bit bumpy, it’s worth it.

Where are you at on the range of emotions if you sent kids to school today?