Here we are … again.
For the handful of readers who have not spent the past week or two rushing to big box stores or ‘the mall,’ I’ll help you out. Tomorrow, Thursday, August 7 marks the first day of school for all six of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District schools. Given this fact, I would also recommend if you do not have to be in the vicinity of F Street or any other street around town, you may want to stay clear between the 7:15 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. hour. The sight of SUV’s, minivans, Smart cars and teen drivers promises to be in abundance.
I can almost predict it will just be a matter of time before I write my now annual ‘can’t you see the signs’ column about the lack of drop off consideration we battle each year at the school sites. This week however, I’m choosing to stay in my place of bliss, disbelief and yes, a bit of sadness.
Summer’s go too fast. There, I said it.
Some, I know vastly disagree. They’re ready to make that drive and get their kids ‘back at it.’ That’s just not me. I love spending time with my kids. They teach me, just as much as I do them and I’m grateful for those lessons.
Granted they are far from angels and an occasional glass of wine is not viewed as a ‘bad thing.’ It’s a peace maker at times (for mommy).
We strive for order, discipline and routine and then … there’s summer. Everything seems to just loosen up for a bit during summer. This summer I came to realize that I learn about my children on a different level when we live in summer.
For instance, my son (age 10) will put himself to bed at 8 p.m. if the week’s events have tapped him out. My daughter (age 7) would like to be a night owl, but in the company of her not so exciting mom and brother she’s passed out on the couch by 9 p.m. Breakfast for dinner gets old, as does take out on a semi-regular basis and donuts for breakfast. Yes, I’ve done each of these multiple times … it’s summer.
One night I actually walked into the kitchen, pulled out a pot, a pan and some ingredients only to hear my duo cheer, “Mommy’s making dinner!” There’s something to be said for the appreciation of a good home cooked meal.
Now, as we bid adieu to summer and care free life, I face the newest challenge I’ve given myself. As mentioned, my children are 7 and 10. This year they will find their way around campus as a second and fourth grader.
During my summer school class of Know your Child Better 101, I learned a very valuable and eye-opening lesson. They long for independence. They need mommy to cut that cord just a bit more, so they can be the upstanding citizens they were intended to be.
I won’t lie, this is tough. It’s nice to be needed. I desperately wanted to be a ‘mom’ and take on all the responsibility it required. So as I face these independence struggles I’m reminded of the wise words I was offered when I was in college.
We are just the vehicles they have been entrusted to, to help guide them. They are not ‘ours,’ but rather the ‘worlds.’ Yes, that’s a big statement and perhaps to some a bit dramatic. I find it to be truth after all.
If we do our job as we should. If we provide them with the right balance of security and independence they will someday go on to be productive citizens of the ‘world.’
So for tomorrow I will hope for many things.
I will hope my children make it to the car with a max of three ‘let’s move’ reminders. I will hope to maintain my composure as I watch all the parents park in the designated Drop Off area. Lastly, I will hope that as we transition into a new school year, new grade level and new teacher I remember to just let them fly.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.