Today is the first day of school. It is always a bitter sweet day for me. It’s sweet because having four kids home all summer can get crazy… and loud. Now there are schedules and friends and after school programs … and quiet.
It’s bitter because another summer has gone by. No more late nights, camp outs, water parks and visits from family. Each new school year is a stark reminder that they won’t stop growing up, that another year of childhood is in the books.
Every year before school starts Chris gives the kids back to school blessings. A few years ago Eli was the only one going to school and was a little nervous to get a blessing. I offered to get one first so that he would know what it was like and hopefully lessen his fears.
During the blessing Chris gave me the Lord counseled me to enjoy the fact that my kids were growing up. He taught me that growing up is part of the Plan of Salvation and that I needed to embrace the change that was happening in our life.
I remember that blessing often, whenever I am sad about growing children or a life change. It helps to be reminded that that is the way it’s supposed to be. Children are supposed to grow up and when they do it’s okay to embrace it.
It’s also okay to be sad about it. The sadness brings the realization that it happens so fast and helps us to slow down and be more present in our day to day lives.
I still feel the regret of all that we didn’t do over the summer or the longing for that child to just stay four forever. For them to always fit into my lap and always want me to read them a bedtime story. But the fact is, our kids are going to grow up. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
If it’s going to happen we might as well embrace it and find the joy. Because there will be joy. The 3rd grader will still want you to walk him all the way to his desk and will even hug you before you go. The 6th grader will turn back and make sure he gets one last look at you as he heads to his class on this own. And that look, that sign that he needs one last reassurance from you that he will do great, will let you know that even though he is growing up he still needs you. And that will let you know that it’s all going to be okay.