Monday, September 03, 2007

Time to Step Up

Even though I am no longer attending school, a big part of me has the same anxiety as the school year comes around - as a part of me is going through it all over again with my kiddos. The other day, I asked Brayden if he was excited about going to sum it up, NOT REALLY was his answer. It isnt that he doesnt want to learn, he just doesnt want the work that goes with it. Despite my relatively high level of academic achievement, that totally summed up both Michele and Is attitude (this lack of punctuation is getting old, but I will have to lose my computer for a week and spend 70 bucks, neither of which I am quite ready to do just yet). We did the work to show we could, to please our parents, to impress our teachers, but we didnt really like it, it was work, it was pressure - long story short, it was doing something we wouldnt have chosen to do on our own accord.

And, so as another school year begins in 48 hours, I find myself back in time, relating to my sons feelings, and feeling a familiar pressure. Sure, hes the one meeting the new teacher and friends - and trying to fit in and have fun. But, I am the one making sure he is waking up on time, insuring that that homework is done, making sure he is dressed right and looking okay - and all the while feeling guilty that I am doing all this because he is now a third grader and should be doing many of these things without prompting. I find myself worrying that he will not have the right kids to hang out with at lunch or recess, or that his first year playing flag football will be his last because he just wont show the kind of effort he needs to. I worry that his strong start in school, particularly reading, will disolve with his lack of effort and interest over the summer (and in general) and that the pushing we have to do to get him to do anything school related will have to continue through college!

And, then, little things happen and I feel like its going to be okay. School is important, but it is not everything in this world. As Brayden asked already to write his Christmas list for Santa, I was reminded of several things - 1) He is capable of planning ahead and being organized =) 2) His handwriting has actually improved quite a bit, and 3) He isnt growing up too soon. Its going to to be okay. He has had three wonderful teachers that have been just right for him and we were just informed that he scored with the one teacher we were really praying for. I hope this teacher loves Brayden for all of his quirks - and appreciates them. And, as for football, we just returned from practice and he did great. Granted, hes small, slow, and behind the learning curve a bit (most of the boys have been on the team for 2 seasons already), but he did great. He gave the effort he needed to and seemed to really enjoy it. He fit in, and my heart was thankful.

So, tomorrow morning, I will sleep in with the kiddos. Brayden will be allowed to play PS2 all day long if he wants. Myself, along with the kids, will be eating whatever we want. Its the last day of freedom for a while - and that, in itself, is what I will be mourning - not so much the summer weather or activities, but the freedom to do and choose to do whatever we feel like. However, as we enter into a new season of disciplines and schedules, we will learn new things, achieve things we wouldnt have otherwise, and more likely than not, come away feeling pretty good about succeeding. Right now, Im dwelling in the last few moments of gluttony, and while it is good for the moment, it aint gonna cut it in the long run. It is time to step up, for my third grade little boy, and for myself. And, Im pretty sure, it is going to all end up all turning out okay.


HollieHobbie said...

Beautifully written, Steph!
Is it wrong that I never felt any of these anxieties? That is kinda tongue in cheek but kinda not. If it wasn't for Pete's brother here and taking pics, we wouldn't have had any of Emma getting on the bus the first day of school.
I am bummed that we aren't footloose and fancy free and that I have to remember to pack her a lunch everyday, but last Tuesday was so matter of fact. Like Summer was just a hiccup in a continuing school year.
hmmmm now you have me wondering...

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm often amazed at different personalities and gifts people have. I was a self-driven achiever who CHOSE to stay in my room doing homework all night; from elementary to high school my mom would nag my brother through each and every assignment he had....and like you said, it all turned out ok. He just tended to only want to put out effort toward his interests, went on to trade school, and is now a top-notch diesel mechanic making more than I probably ever will. Like you my achievements were more about pleasing people, I didn't really have a passion that pointed toward a particular profession, and I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with myself!

So I watch my kids head off: Tyler nervously finding his desk and watching every move the teacher makes (like me) and Rachel, reserved but confident, excited about school but so lazy about homework (unlike me, thus exasperating). I want to be the right kind of parent, fair and understanding and focused on keeping the "fun" element in school and all the busy-ness. That's my goal for the year.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who also gets a knot in my stomach on the first day of school - I did it when I was teaching ESOL (every term) and it's the reason I could never go into teaching full time!

Colie said...

Thanks for your thoughts Steph. It's so fun because sometimes I read your blog and think how alike you are to your sister. Other times how different. Today I thought both actually:-).

After reading your entry I 1) felt better about letting Caleb watch TV all morning because I was busy with a sick Tana and 2) felt anxious over the school year even though I do not have school age children. I can see myself feeling so many of these anxieties.

I think about having to let go and allow my children to experience the ups and downs of independence. I know its a slow process and by the time Caleb is in the 3rd grade I will have more experience under my belt but I can imagine being anxious for him as you are as well.

Thanks for the transparent thoughts. Have a wonderful day of indulgence. I can't wait to see pictures of your kids on their first days!

P.S. you really need to get michele started on this blog thing. I need pictures and thoughts on her life too:-).