When my sister’s youngest son was 4-years-old, he desperately wanted to go to school with his older brothers. That big yellow bus was particularly appealing to him. “Next year,” my sister kept assuring him.
That January, after the bigger boys' holiday break, it was time for heading back to school. That morning, the littlest brother packed a backpack and lined up at the door.
“Where do you think you're going?”
“School! It’s next year now!”
Of course he hadn't realized there was a difference between next year and next year. Grown-ups are so confusing.
Even though I'm well aware of those differences, I think they do have a lot in common. It's a new school year for us now and it's filled with bright shiny promise just like every January is. Instead of new calendars waiting to be filled with appointments and doodles, there are now new agendas longing to be filled with homework assignments and amazing doodles!
It also similarly feels like a time to make some changes, set some goals, make some resolutions if you will. This year I'm also reassessing some of our previous ones, perhaps they were too lofty or just not relevant at this stage in our lives anymore. Here are our school year resolutions, some altered old ones and some completely new:
1. I am no longer bothering with trying to get the kids to pack their lunches at night anymore. Evenings are busy with chores, homework, lounging, sports and meetings. My kids are generally easy risers and their morning routines are pretty streamlined, including making lunch for themselves at breakfast time. As long as they're packing for themselves, I'm happy.
2. Oh bedtime. You are so difficult to regulate after summer and then with the start of homework and sports. We're totally going to wrestle you back into submission. Soon.
3. This one is for Mom and Dad: Stay consistent in checking the kids' agendas and homework.
4. This one's for myself: I've been working outside of the home for a year and a half now. It's time to accept the fact that even though it's only 15-20 hours a week (and they're even while the kids are at school!) it completely affects my ability to consistently make the kind of dinners and snacks I like to make for my family. Concessions need to be made, like more store-bought snacks. Changes need to be made, like prepping or even cooking dinner before work.
5. This last one is brand new and I'm not sure yet how we're going to do it: get through searching for and applying to colleges without completely stressing ourselves or our daughter out. (I'll gladly take tips on this one, we'll need to hone these skills for the following four kids!)