I absolutely HATE it when kids go back to school. First, because I love summer (doesn’t everyone?), also because it marks the passing of time which is already flying by. This year my youngest can drive himself to school which is bittersweet because I don’t have a 7 am or 3:30 pm schedule anymore, but I also don’t have the chance to chat with him in the car twice a day (thankfully we find plenty of other chances). What I am noticing though, is that although he is busier with school, work and fall schedules, he happens to be a very happy guy right now and THAT is what truly matters.
As a parent back to school can mean having the temptation to lecture, remind and nag them about schoolwork, brushing their teeth, hurrying up in the morning to get out the door and (depending on how old they are) that it is time to get to bed. After school trying to get them to even unzip their backpack can be like dragging an elephant through quicksand. However, I am finally at the stage of parenting where I am not involved in the homework hassles unless asked (avoiding their reading time, not completing their work before dinner or remembering a big project at 9:30 pm)…Why? Because it is time for me to see if he has mastered the life lessons behind the school lessons (most of which he has). As a conditioned parent of school age kids it is hard to notice that they haven’t unzipped the backpack, that they are up too late or that their gym shorts are still not in the laundry (and they need them first thing in the morning). However, when I notice these things I can actually be thankful for them (yes, I said thankful) because that means my son’s still developing brain may have a small moment of panic, a day of yawning/fighting the urge to close his eyes or an hour in smelly shorts- ALL GREAT LIFE LESSONS without me having lectured, nagged or rescued. .
As I look at my son’s school picture and compare them to the 10 that came before, I see a confident and caring young man who makes fewer and fewer poor choices, who knows it is time to pick up a book instead of a game controller and who is figuring out how to balance homework, friends, sports schedules and his new job(s). I hate that his free time is becoming less free, but I know that life will only get busier and his developing brain is learning WAY more than math and history right now. As a mother of a high schooler who can drive himself, I understand his life will be happier because I am staying in my lane and letting him drive in his. My job is to love and support him along the way and THAT I can do!