Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back to school

It started in mid-August (!!) -- back-to-school photos & posts from Stateside friends, popping up like springtime dandelions on my Facebook feed. And it's continued all through this past week.  

On Labour Day weekend, the local newspaper was full of back-to-school stories -- including a full two-page spread on the burning question of how old kids should be before they're allowed to walk to school by themselves. The general consensus seemed to be 9. (!)

(Back in the Dark Ages (cough cough), unless the weather was really rotten, I walked to school. By myself at first;  later, usually with my sister. In kindergarten, that was six blocks, by myself. Across a highway.)(Granted, this was a small rural town in the 1960s, and there wasn't much traffic -- and everyone else walked too.)(But, I digress....)

On Labour Day, a FB friend (albeit a fellow loss mom) posted her annual moan about how she did not want to send her kids back to school the following day. (Or set an alarm clock -- which may have been the true issue, lol.)  Next year, her oldest will be off to university. I can just imagine her posts then...! 

Actually, I've already had a taste of what's to come.  A (non-ALI) blogger I don't really "know" but follow just sent her oldest child off to university and has been writing about it (albeit writing beautifully).

And a non-ALI online friend just installed her oldest child in her first apartment this weekend.  The family lives less than an hour away -- a heck of a lot closer to home than I was for most of my university career -- and that was long before Internet, email, Skype, texting and cheap long distance phone calls. (I called my parents once a week, usually on Sunday nights.)  Later on moving day, the mom posted on FB that she was bawling her eyes out over a restaurant dinner.   

Even then, I was doing OK -- until one of her friends commented, "You can do hard things -- you are a MOM!"

Like moms have the market cornered on "doing hard things"??!  (I'm sure that wasn't the intended meaning -- but that was my first reaction.)

Yes, I'm sure it's hard to watch your children leave the nest.  But of course, I wouldn't know that -- would I?

But I do know something about saying goodbye to your child -- your only child -- forever.  And never seeing her grow up and go off to school at all.  And be reminded of it every single September.

That's hard.

(For the record, Katie would have started Grade 11 this fall.)(That's a junior, for those of you south of the border.)         


  1. Sending hugs. You do know all about "doing hard things."

    I did like your reminiscences though. When I first left home, I went to Thailand! My mother cried at the airport. I'm pretty sure that was the only time. I rang home twice during the year, but we wrote weekly. As you say, there's no comparison with today's email, skype, texts and cheap phone calls.

    And I walked to the school bus along a country road from the age of 5. My sister and the older neighbour kids had all gone by the time I was 7, so I walked on my own until my sister started school the next year. Nine? Really?

  2. I agree with Mali wholeheartedly. Moms don't have the market cornered on pain and I'm sorry you had to endure that punch to the gut.

    I think I'm the one who bawled when dropped off at university. My mom wasn't much of a crier with this stuff. Or at least I never knew....

    Very exciting about you going back to school! I have older students in my classes and always love how their presence changes the dynamic. It's such a treat as they challenge the younger generation in ways I can't. Hoping it's a wonderful wxperience

  3. @Cristy: Ummm, thanks for the good wishes, but I'm not going back to school. (Not yet, anyway, lol.)(Maybe my headline was misleading?) Something to think about, though, if only a course or two at a time for interest.

  4. Oh my. Well, we all know we know about hard things ourselves and can handle a heck of a lot of hard things!

    I coach track (grade 6-8) and so many of the kids do not know how to make decisions for themselves and being so dependent on their parents for everything. It makes me sad and I try to teach the kids some independence and decision making in the short time I have them. I feel for the kids because their parents really encourage their kids to be very dependent on them. I see those types of Facebook posts you mentioned and I want to yell " YOU HAVE TO LET THEM GROW". But alas, i say nothing, because I'm not a mom, so in their eyes, I know nothing about children. (clearly this back to school crap irritates me too)