Leading up to the start of school starts and I've been wracked with guilt and a little bit of sadness. As are apparently half of the other moms in my neighborhood. I ran into a friend at church yesterday and she told me how they spent this last week packing in the waterpark and the zoo so that she could feel justified in being a good mother this summer. I talked to another friend this morning about "End of Summer Guilt" and she said she felt guiltier about being a "mean mom" this summer.
I too have had the same feelings of guilt. And I myself tried (and failed) to make it to the water park this week. I might go so far as to make my kids take a day off from school so we can go. It's really more for me than them though to be honest. I love water parks.
We get so focused on trying to create fabulous summer memories, and recreate the things we loved most about summer as a kid, that half of the time we forget to let our kids run free to create the perfect summer memories of their own (which probably entail hiding under the neighbors tree, or laying the hammock, and have little consequence to us). My favorite summer memories were building forts, waiting for the ice cream man to drive by, and carving knives out of Popsicle sticks to torture grasshoppers with. (I may or may not have thrown live grasshoppers in my neighbors BBQ that summer as well).
So let yourself off the hook. Time might move in fast forward for us, but most likely, your kids still felt the lazy days of summer in all of their glory. I'm sure we're part of the highlight reel, but the heart of the matter is in the little things they did to pass the time.
I've also figured out, that even bigger than that, is the fact that the start of school each year is a big fat reminder that our kids are growing up and that the years seem to be passing by faster and faster. As we dropped off the kids at school this morning half the moms had sunglasses on - some strategically to hide their tears (which is what I wish I would have done on the first day of kindergarten). I started to cry for one of my neighbors that just dropped her daughter off at the first day of Jr. High. She walked up to her husband on the playground and said "she's gone . . ." and another mom remarked "Jr. High is a horrible place". We're moms. We're dramatic and full of big emotions.
Backpacks and school lunch are just another reminder that our kids are moving around in a bigger world and that they are just going to keep on growing in it.
(but it makes it a little easier that I've still got this crazy lady at home . . .) We dealt with the aftermath with a big round of chalk art on the driveway.