Yesterday was the last day of school. A day that we’ve all been looking forward to. No more having to get up, schedules to keep, or homework to complete. As I walked up to pick up my tender-hearted little girl, she ran to me and buried her face in my lap. I asked her if she wanted to go hug her teachers or say goodbye to any of her friends. As I looked into her brimming little eyes threatening to spill over, her lips trembled and I knew. “I just want to go,” she said in a small voice. In the car she let it all out, sobbing all the way home that she hated having to say goodbye to people.
As a military family, it’s what we do. And our kids do it right along with us. So far, she’s been so young with our moves that it didn’t really affect her. But no more. She knows now. She gets it. And my heart breaks right along with hers. Between hiccups, she cried and said, “Sometimes I wish we weren’t military so we didn’t have to keep saying goodbye to the people we love.” The end of the school year, for her, represented what she knows is coming sooner or later; we will move to a new place and start over. Again.
Having a good cry, a FaceTime session with Grandma and later a bike ride with Daddy, a sense of acceptance and moving on settled in. They are so resilient. It’s tough to be sure, but they do bounce back.
It’s now day 1 into our summer break. I’ve been up for exactly 4 hours.
Four hours into “vacation”.
We’ve eaten breakfast, my daughter has painted. The dog has played fetch 36 times. My son has reached the next level of Minecraft. I’ve been attempting to study. She has had at least 4 costume changes so far. The sadness of goodbyes has started to fade.
Have I mentioned that my daughter has been painting? Yes, painting at the table. Five beautiful new masterpieces now decorate our kitchen table, drying on the not-so-good kitchen towels.
Have I mentioned that she is also
a talker a story-teller? A non-stop talker story-teller, in fact. As I sit here attempting (for the thirty-seventh time) to read the same paragraph, she is making up stories about her paintbrushes and “how they land – SPLOOSH! – into the paint. Just like a swimming pool! See Mommy!? Watch him splash into the pool of red! He doesn’t have a bathing suit though. But he doesn’t need one. He’s a paintbrush!” She then dissolves into a fit of giggles at her own joke. “See Mommy?!!”
“Yes, I see.” Mommy really really needs to read and concentrate right now…
Elmo’s voice counts loudly from an iPad. Barbie and her friends and accessories are strewn all over, awaiting their demise at the hands, er jaws, of our dogs. The phone rings, snacks are requested, games will be played, studying will get done (even if it has to be after they go to bed). They will play with other kids at the gym (Thank you gym childcare workers! You will be saving my sanity and I’ll get to work with clients!)
Despite the adjustments – this summer is going to be a blast! As my daughter has unknowingly demonstrated, there’s a time to be sad, to say goodbyes and see you laters, and to adjust to new schedules. But it’s also about embracing what is, waking up and being excited about what this day may bring.
Even if it does involve paint, play dough, toys all over and a little less alone time.
Bring it Summer!