I know I’m not the first one to say this, but seriously — I can’t believe school will be starting August 6.
If you’re like me, you remember LONG summers as a child. Three months away from the classroom, the dress codes, and any form of structured activity. It was a season of free thought, free play, and freedom.
Every summer, I spent five mornings at Vacation Bible School snacking on Kool-Aid and butter cookies – the ones you could slide onto your fingers and wear as diamond rings. My mom piled us into the car every Tuesday to join friends at their aunt’s swimming pool. And each year, we’d make the five-hour trek to Destin, Florida for a full week of sun, sand, and surf.
Other than that, my mother, brother, and I were at home, mixing pitchers of lemonade and turning on the sprinkler to avoid melting in the vicious Louisiana heat. But I never once felt bored. In fact, I loved every minute of summer. I played with friends in the woods, fields, and ditches around my house. And when afternoon storms forced us under the carport or into the forbidden zone of “indoors,” we acted out scenes from our favorite films, pretended to be in a band, or made ourselves content with games of cards, Yahtzee, or Monopoly. Time was a gift, and we knew enough to appreciate every second of it.
Maybe I’m being a little too sentimental, but in those days life was simple. Life was good.
Now, no matter how much we insist we’re not going to over plan our summers, our children end up racing from church camp to science camp to ecology camp, with art, piano, tumbling, and sleepovers scheduled in between. Add to that a week in Hawaii, a week at their grandmother’s, and a few short road trips — and before you know it, summer has vanished. Poof! Nine weeks have flown right past us, and I have no choice but to accept the fact that I am now old enough to be a mother of a middle-schooler! (YIKES!)
Nothing scares me more than sending my sweet baby girl off to the wolves of junior high. I remember those middle school years. Girls can be cruel. Boys can be relentless. Life’s temptations and trials are thrown at you from every angle, and you aren’t even given time to develop a defense. You walk into battle unarmed and naïve, a drummer boy on the front line.
I just hope and pray that we’ve given her enough strength to have a true sense of self, a real value of individuality, and a clear vision of which relationships are healthy and which are not. She’ll make mistakes – we all do. As parents we just hope (and pray, pray, pray) that those mistakes are ones that don’t end her life, or ruin it.
As we send our children off to school again this year, I feel a little like the animals in my books. Afraid. Unsure. Full of doubt. I have to remind myself – many times a day – that there is no reason to fear. That God is with them, even when I’m not.
Blessings to you and yours this school season. May you all have a happy, healthy return to the classroom.