Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Back to School

This may seem premature.  Back to School may be farther off for some, but for us it’s August 20th.  Which means the calendar is making me feel the crunch.

Big time.

This is compacted by the fact I am back to work, which leaves me less time to fart around Target grabbing supplies.  It leaves me less time to clean out old clothes my kids don’t wear, and less time to organize a back to school homework area that only works the first week of school. 

Before I worked, I had a habit of making everything into an event.  I was an all-day event maker.  It was fabulous.  I watched babies, wiped sticky fingers and dreamed up something to do every day that would keep me productive.  These days it’s grab and go and do what is practical.  Sometimes my kids remember when they came home to homemade cookies, and my mom just mentioned all the homemade cinnamon bread I used to make.

Loaf after loaf of cinnamon swirl heaven.

I’ve promised myself to get back into the kitchen more often, especially now that I’m used to working.  Although this month I’m working on making time for our “back to school” tradition.  I always, always take my children one at a time for their back to school shopping.  With four kids, a one on one outing is a big deal.  Rarely does one of my kids get to shop alone with mom for a few hours.  It’s a treat to have the undivided attention.  I still smile remembering the outing I realized my younger son loved shopping with me.

He was eight, and he relished it.  He asked my opinion about everything he picked out.  He told me he needed everything right down to new undies.  And he even debated with me on which pattern he should choose.  That was the year we moved to Pennsylvania, and life was chaotic.  Until that summer I took the kids in groups for their items.  If I could get an afternoon with one of them I would, but it was rare.  I was usually with all of them, or in two groups on two different days.  But that summer, I knew my kids needed the time.  We all needed to recharge and slow down.   

I took my kids, one at a time, for everything they needed.  It was an event, a real one.  We went for new clothes, shoes and supplies for school.  We got lunch and discussed the summer.  We talked about the next year and all their friends.  Those back to school shopping trips have become one of my favorite things to do with my kids.

They open up; they feel important.  Instead of wanting to pull my hair out with four kids pulling me in different directions, I’m focused on one.  And it means more than I ever realized before I made the time to do it.

I knew one on one time was important for kids.  What I didn’t realize was how important it was for me.  It’s my time to slow down, listen and reconnect with my kids.

I know that up until my last baby goes to college, even if they fight me on it, I will drag them out that door every August.  Right now I’m comforted by the fact they not only willingly go with me, but they want to.  They look forward to it, and they know they will go back to school with what they need. 

So many needs met in one simple trip.  A win-win-win.

Cheers all, it’s almost (gasp) August.

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