This is usually the time of year when summer has gone on way too long.
It is the time when moms are ready to come home from work or anywhere they may have been and find the house exactly as they left it because everyone else is at school.
It is the time when moms expect the house to be quiet at certain times of the night because children are either in bed or completing homework. We are tired of the relentless social life of our children and ready for some structure and routine to reenter all of our lives.
And, we are ready for food to be consumed with some predictability rather than have all the food in the house eaten all the time by people who will finally be in school next week and will only be able to raid the pantry during certain hours of the day.
This year – even though this summer has been at least two weeks longer than others in recent memory – I find myself less excited for school to start.
That’s because it is senior year for my oldest three and I know that the year will fly by and nothing will ever be the same after it does.
There is nothing subtle about reaching this milestone. It hits home with a giant thud before junior year even ends. Senior portraits are taken at the end of junior year. There are millions of college preparatory activities already underway.
Last May, after all the pre-prom festivities of the junior prom died down, a friend said, “Let’s go home now and cry.”
And we did because it was the beginning of the end of for our children, the end of a time our children have enjoyed. It is the end of a time that we are able to share with them. Somehow, the children, forever young in our minds, were clearly not so young anymore.
Senior year starts with many blatant reminders. The first day kicks off with senior breakfast before the senior tunnel. Everyone wears a senior shirt and they enjoy their senior status from the first minute.
When my children were born, so many people talked to me about the various milestones I would face with them.
“Wait until they walk,” some warned with foreboding, but I found that stage to be fun.
Then, people said, “Good luck potty training three boys,” but that was no big deal.
And, “Wait until they are all in beds,” but that too was no problem.
“Wait until they drive” is a little more challenging, but still another step in the march toward independence.
Now, we are close to the biggie. “Wait until you have to send three to college,” people frequently say.
It seems like there is so much to do in between now and the achievement of that milestone, but when it happens, I will need a few boxes of tissues.
Coming home to a clean house with a full pantry has some benefits. But, I’m not sure I’m ready for them just yet.