By Shellie Miller – Farrugia
It’s that time of year that many parents dread. Traffic slows to a crawl every weekday morning, backpacks filled with papers, permission slips and sales catalogs clutter the kitchen table, and the day begins with a flurry of prompts (“finish your cereal, remember your lunch”), searches for missing socks, missed buses and a frantic hunt for the car keys. It tires me just to reminisce…and here we go again!
However, my personal belief is that one of the main reasons parents dread the Back to School season is the reminder of milestones that have passed and will never return again. As Junior progresses annually from Kindergarten and now begins high school, our own reflections in the bathroom mirror have progressed, too. His shoes may be a few sizes larger and so, too, are Dad’s belts. Janie’s plight has changed from cutting her favorite blanky into an acceptable size for her Hello Kitty backpack into self-esteem concerns over an incessant acne problem. Mom’s worries are just as real as she frets over Janie’s sense of self-worth and wonders over her own value as a mom, provider and wife.
As my older children have grown from the littlest tots to parents themselves, I see their excitement and angst as they prepare for their little one’s foray off to preschool. Will she cry all day? How can she possibly make it without Mommy there to dry her tears and make sure she eats her entire sandwich? What if she has an accident? Will they change her right away? They may not know she’s prone to rashes!
Now that our kids are grown and adulting, this year is going to be a breeze for our family. When I reflect back on some of the most special times, there was one year that we had one in high school, one in middle school, one in elementary school, and one in preschool. Remembering that hectic time, reinforces to me that parenting includes creative scheduling, time management, and lots of prayer! For the first time in my life as a parent, I realize that there will be no more forgotten lunches or parent-teacher meetings, but I already DO pine for the cacophony of five kids milling about in the morning, rushing each other into and out of the bathroom, and fighting over the last piece of bread for sandwiches (“Why does Evan always make a TRIPLE decker PB&J?”). Life was crazy then…I used to pray for a little more time to get it all done. Now that we’re here, I pray that the Moms and Dads who are walking in my worn out shoes will savor every moment, be patient with every meltdown, and love each other so deeply that their children follow their example for another joyful generation of growing, learning and loving life.