June – Like Children Awaiting Parole, by Cathy Moryc Recine

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”  ~John Lubbock

You can almost feel it in the air. There are some kids that are counting down the days as if they are awaiting parole. The school year is almost finished here in New York and summer vacation is about to begin. It seems like just yesterday it was the first day of school for my kids and I can remember their excitement and nervous anticipation of meeting new teachers and friends.

Where did the time go?

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past 10 months and if you don’t mind, I will pat myself on the back and congratulate myself a little bit too.  You see I take great pride in the fact that my kids have not missed the bus at all this year. Nope not one day.  I know you are thinking “so what?” and I am well aware that many parents do this with great ease and poise but I will be the first to admit I am not exactly a morning person (especially before some coffee) and 3 of my 4 kids (that‘s 75% for my fellow math lovers) are not morning people either so the odds are not in our favor.  I should also mention that not all of these mornings have exactly gone smoothly. Its true and unfortunately I am the one to blame and I take full responsibility.  I have accidentally confused breakfast orders, attempted to pack healthy snacks for school and demanded weather appropriate clothing. Don’t judge me.

Of course its not just about getting the kids up and out to school. Other things happen at home throughout the day as well. There are drop offs and pick ups for pre-school, laundry, dishes, and vacuuming.  Repeat. All while trying to keep up with the ever challenging task of keeping a 2-year-old happy. And then, when that bus delivers them back home after school the second shift starts. That’s right.  Homework, after school activities and finding time for dinner.  Sometimes those things get combined, homework and dinner happen in the car to and from the afterschool activities. I like to think of it as time management.

And now here we are in June. The grand finale so to speak.  Homework begins to ease up until finally it is just no longer assigned during the last weeks. After school activities start to slowly come to an end.  There are dance recitals to watch, trophy days for sports, school trips, and end of the school year parties.  Just today, I watched my daughter’s first grade class during their field day.  The kids played various games on the field as the parents clicked away on their cameras. Kids being kids and running as fast as their little legs could to try and win the relay races. They ran around playing the games and the parents cheered them on.  All the kids had so much fun and they were so proud of their teamwork and accomplishments…

not half as proud as the parents were of them course.

After they completed all the games, we had a picnic lunch and then all the parents were invited to the classroom to watch a Flag Day presentation given by the kids.  They recited songs and facts about the American Flag.  This provided even more photo opportunities for us parents. And then just a few minutes later, there were tears. None of the kids were crying though. These were my tears. So many mixed emotions and as much as I love my country, these tears had nothing to do with patriotism. My daughter’s very thoughtful teacher made a slide show with her own photos of the class from throughout the year. She included everything from the first days of school, holidays, birthday parties and even those extra special moments for the 6 and 7 year olds, including the loss of a tooth.  All of these photos, one after another, on a giant screen while “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart played.

Suddenly I was reminded that these were the moments that occurred after we rushed out of the house in the morning and before we ran from one after school activity to the next while trying to do homework and finding time to eat dinner. It was easy to see how much she has grown and matured right in front of me, only I was too busy trying to accomplish all the things that needed to be done each day to really notice just how fast it was all happening. I was reminded how quickly the school year had passed and deep down I know the summer vacation will go by in what will feel like a blink of an eye.

So for the next couple of months I will do my best to slow things down a bit and savor those rare moments of nothingness that are sometimes taken for granted.  I will take many more photos and I will continue to be a proud spectator and cheer them on.

After all, I will always be their biggest fan

Cathy Moryc Recine writes a monthly parenting column for Muse In The Valley.  She lives in Manorville  New York, with her husband and four children ages 9, 6, 4 and 2. She works as a mom,  yet still finds time to enjoy the things that keep her unique.