So you would think since I've done this a time or two that I'd be fine with it… but yet, here I sit, an emotional mess on the night before a kid starts kindergarten. I made it through buying all the school supplies (grabbed them myself without the indecisive kindergartner to slow me down), fancy new book-bags (bought them at the end of last year on clearance), labeling pencils (ha! only rookies do that - the teachers all throw them into the same pile anyway) and packing lunches (all the fighting and dwaddling made me so frustrated I didn't have time to be sentimental). But now when I sit here thinking back on the last 5 years and all the things I haven't done with Elias, I'm ready to bawl again. I've been an emotional wreck for the past few weeks (ok, months) about this kid going to school. I'm not sure why but it started at the end of last spring when I realized one day that that was our last day together as just he, myself and Adele without the big kids home for the summer. I sat at the table and bawled like a baby and he came and sweetly kissed me and told me that it was ok "cause I'd still have Adele-ba-Dell here with me." And this is true, I do have her but I'm almost as afraid of that as I am sad that Elias is off to kindergarten. How am I supposed to entertain a 1 year old all by myself for over 8 hours a day?? Homeschooling is sounding very tempting right about now.
But then I realize that maybe it's not the kids, or the thought of the kids here all day, that I'm missing so much but instead it's the guilty that I'm letting seep in. Guilt that maybe I haven't taught them what they need to know, or haven't instilled in them how much I love them, or the undone things that I always imagined I'd do with toddlers and preschoolers and now I'll never have a second chance to make those things happen. Like long nature walks or story times at the libraries or long snuggle fests watching movies together on the couch or building spending whole mornings digging for lego piece to make the robot guy or perfect fall days hunting for the perfect pumpkin at the patch. And then it hits me… as I type this list. We DID do all those things. Not as often as I'd imagined or as perfectly as I'd planned but we really did do all those things, each and every one that is listed. And while I'm so sad that those days are over, I need to start focusing on the fun days that lie ahead of us now that he's in kindergarten and see what fun we have because the years beyond, as he starts 2nd grade, then 4th, are sneaking up. I need to document these fun things that make up the boring, mundane days that I so often forget while I'm boohooing about these kids growing up without having checked anything off our "bucket lists". Although I'm not perfect and there were plenty of days that I slept in, or took a nap, or played on my computer there were still lots and lots of other days when I got up, took them to play in the river, went to the park, arranged playdates, packed a picnic and wandered around the zoo all day. I'm sad that my kids are growing up but I don't want to focus on the sadness but instead on the happiness that we got to have. Thank goodness I at least have this blog to help my poor memory out. I spent a few hours reading it tonight and it's nice to remember I had these same feeling when both Ava and Nathan headed off to school.
Tonight, we started something I hope to turn into a family tradition. We had a Back to School Feast and honored our three royal members and crowned them with our family theme for the 2013 school year. For some reason, I felt strongly that they needed to understand that faith is what will move them forward, even when they are facing hard or scary things, so I choose our theme to be "Go Forward With Faith". We talked in length about various scriptural families that faced hardships and scary things (Brother of Jared, Lehi and his family, Nephi and his family, etc) and I think the older ones especially understood that faith is the building block that will help them get through tough things. After tonight, and especially after John gave them each a priesthood blessing of comfort and love, I know that they know how to feel safe and secure, even when they're not in our presence. They each know and understand that they can pray for comfort and help whenever, where ever they need it and that if they have faith, they will feel the security of knowing that Heavenly Father is there with them. And that is what finally gives me the comfort that I need to let them walk into through those school doors without me tomorrow and lets me get in my car and drive away to my empty (well, kinda) house, with faith that they will come home safe and sound.