Friday, August 22, 2008

Maybe I'm Weird . . .

By Rebecca Talley

Years ago, I sat in a PTA meeting while we discussed changing the start time for our elementary school. I was pushing for it to begin later because kids, some as young as 3 years old, have to meet the bus at 6:30 am each morning because we are in a rural area and we start school at 7:40 am. That is very early, especially for young children. My own kids don’t start school until first grade so that I can teach them to read and can feel confident they are going to school with the ability to read, do simple math, and have a closer relationship with me. But, many parents send their children to pre-school and it seemed as though starting the school day a little later made sense. Last year, my first grader fell asleep on the afternoon bus everyday so I had to be sure to meet the bus at the end of my lane to make sure the bus driver didn’t forget my sleeping son and accidentally take him on her next route with the older school kids. As we discussed changing the start time, I was startled to hear a mother exclaim, “Start school later? Are you kidding? I’d rather have it start earlier so I can get rid of my kids sooner.”

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I always feel so sad when school starts and my children leave for most of the day. My older kids don’t come home on the bus until after 5:00 pm, which means they are away from me for over 10 hours each day. That makes me sad. I love being with my kids.

This summer was crazy busy with camps, a Youth Conference, Scout training, and my son returning home from his mission. The house was usually in disarray with all the kids playing games with each other, dressing up, and making crafts. We didn’t have a set schedule, though I did try to make sure we did some cleaning and watered and hoed the garden. It was a bit chaotic at times, but it was great. I loved watching the kids play together, especially with their younger siblings who don’t attend school yet. The summer ended far too fast for me.

Next week, will be even harder when my two oldest leave for college and the next step in their lives. They won’t be gone for 10 hours a day; they’ll be gone for days and weeks at a time. Yes, I understand that this is the normal cycle of life and that children grow up and leave home, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I often think of the song, “Sunrise, Sunset,” as I watch my children grow. Where does the time go? What happened to that little baby I held in my arms? I must’ve blinked.

And so here we are, another school year has begun and I’m sad to see my kids go. I miss having them around the house. I miss the hum of their voices. I miss the squeals and excitement while they spray each other with water. I wish summer break was 9 months and school was only 3 months.

Maybe I’m just weird . .

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8 comments:

  1. You're not weird. If we live a full life, the time we have our kids home is so short!

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  2. I loved your post, Rebecca! I get so frustrated and saddened when I hear parents express how they can't wait to get their children out of the house. I cried when my last one started school. People couldn't understand why I wasn't celebrating my "freedom." Having children about me every day for 25 years was such a blessing. Not to say I didn't need a break once in awhile...of course I did...still do!!...but I miss those years.

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  3. I was a single mom. Even when the children were very young and first started school I had to work. I tried to do some one on one with them by having a joy school that I participated with other neighborhood mothers in. It was great fun. I also volunteered to help at school in the music programs and so forth. The tender years before school started were the hardest. I missed so many of the "firsts." I usually worked evenings or nights. It was hard not to be there when they came home. I worried about them constantly. But, I did use the school as a babysitter - even in summer. I signed them up for summer school classes (mostly in languages and crafts) and music camps in summer so that I wouldn't have to worry about them being home alone.
    I don't think you're weird. It was something I yearned to have - more time with my children.

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  4. Thank you for your comments, ladies.

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  5. Is it possible you misunderstood the young mother? I said a similar thing once in jest in the presence of LDS women, and you'd have thought I'd committed the gravest of sins. I take great joy in my children as well, and I felt it rather unfair to receive their solemn, judgmental reaction. Lighten up, sisters, it was probably just a little humor from a tired mother.

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  6. Most mothers I know want the kids to stay home and most kids want to be out and about. I think it all depends too on how large the family is. My lds friend with 9 kids has your experience Rebecca; my lds friend with 4 kids has a different reaction.

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  8. No, I didn't misunderstand her, she wasn't joking. She didn't want to deal with her kids, she wanted to concentrate on herself and her career as she stated through the years that I worked with her. She would also tell me about how she regularly left her kids with her husband so she could party it up at the bars with her friends.

    Her daughter is now a single parent living with her, I believe she's divorced, and her kids are a mess. I saw her recently and she looked so unhappy and I remembered the many comments she'd made over the years.

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