It’s back-to-school time, the time that brings a mixture of dread and delight to kids and parents. There’s so much to look forward to – shiny new school supplies, an excuse to buy new clothes, seeing old friends, a chance to start fresh (and that’s just the kids!). Parents revel in having six or so kid-free hours every day. I remember the first day of school throughout our kids’ elementary school years when it was tradition for a group of mothers to wave goodbye to their little darlings and then hit a nearby restaurant for mimosas! I felt a little guilty so openly celebrating being rid of my children after 10 long weeks of “I’m boooorrrrrreeeeddddd” so I never went with them. Inside though, believe you me, I was doing a jig of freedom.
I always hope that with each new school year and advancement of maturity my children will remember hard-fought lessons from the previous year about friendship, time-management and study skills. Usually, those lessons need to be taught again, the hard way. Recently, however, I overheard the kind of conversation parents only dream of, coming from the back seat of the car.
My youngest two, Grant and Grace, who are entering 7th and 9th grades respectively, were talking about the impending first day of school. Grace said “I can’t believe I’m starting high school” to which Grant said, “Don’t worry about it. Remember when we were both going into 6th grade and we were so nervous and worried that we wouldn’t make any new friends and that school was going to be way too hard? Well, it turned out okay. We found out we were smart enough to handle it, made good friends right away and it was great! I’m not even nervous about starting 7th grade!”
Wow, you can imagine how great it was to hear that. It got even better though.
Grace said: “Looking back, I can’t believe I followed some of those girls around that I did like a lost puppy. They were so not the kind of people I should have been hanging around with. Starting high school, I feel like I know who I am better and I don’t need to be like anyone else.”
Let’s just take a moment of reading silence to let all of that sink in, shall we? Ooo, I think I hear angels too!
I did look back in the rear view mirror just once to see if the kids were actually reading from some prepared script intended to lull parents into a false sense of security but no, it was real and honest and so, so true. I said nothing. I didn’t even acknowledge that I’d heard them because, as we parents know, if Mom or Dad comment, it ruins it. So I let it lie and reveled in it and couldn’t wait to tell my husband about it word-for-word.
These are the moments, of which there are relatively few, when your children seem to have absorbed the lessons you’ve taught them. Even if they had figured this out all on their own, which, in good part they had, I am still going to feel thrilled and happy because it means that they might actually achieve the life goal I have set forth for them which is to be Happy, Healthy, Functioning Adults (It’s my little parenthood mantra). It’s too soon to tell if that goal will be achieved, but so far, it’s looking pretty good.