My kids go back to school tomorrow. The beginning of the year, always hits me with a ton of emotions. For one, I miss the excitement I used to feel setting up my classroom, collaborating with my team of teachers, and meeting my students for the first time. And as a parent, another school year means they are one year closer to not needing me anymore. This year, I will have a 4th grader, 3rd grader, and a preschooler.
Then, I get a quick little ping on my phone, a text alert. With a simple "YES!" to the question, "Do you want to have ribs with us tonight?" BAM, our day was set! I could see it now, the kids could lounge around and play while Jeff and I got some piddly work done around the house. Then, he could run to the store while I started baking one of two desserts. Once everything was baked and the salad was tossed, we'd walk across the street for dinner... perfect!! I loved the way this day was shaping up, and all by 9:04AM! Not long after that the buzz of neighborhood play was all around me. Boys and girls were in and out of my house in a swirl of summery fun. The sun was out, bikes were zooming down the block, and good old-fashioned play was happening.
Early on, we made a conscious decision to change some words in our house. We always make sure to say our kids have "strong legs" that help them cartwheel, run, and kick. And we are especially careful about saying the "F" word- fat. That is a banned word in our house. I used to say it a lot, but as soon as we heard the kids say it, we realized that the word fat needed to be exiled from our home. It's not that I don't want them to know the word, but rather I don't want them to associate themselves with the word.
I was left with the nagging feeling that maybe we didn't do everything on our summer bucket list. It was an extensive list and after all my kids are big thinkers, but I checked the list and we really only had a few things left to do. That's when it hit me, their idea of a perfect summer evolved from the "Summer Bucket List" we made in May. That list changed as they grew up right in front of me..but I never stopped to update it. I looked at the list as my big "To-Do List". I was just checking things off the list, so that they wouldn't gripe at me in August. But, here we are.. griping...in JULY. Cue the mommy guilt.