I can hardly believe the school year is over.
I think back to my boys’ very first day at their new school this past September. I was so nervous I didn’t think I’d get through drop off without crying myself. I remember how I stressed when I needed to send in a family photo. Should I send in an old family photo from when I was married? Two separate photos? I felt like the only one in the school who was divorced, and I worried about my kids feeling like pariahs.
I worried about other things too, like whether they would make friends, and if I would. On the first day, as I struggled to lock up my kids’ bikes, I ended up befriending a mom new to the school and the country, whose boys were in each of my boys’ classes. Coincidentally, we all happened to make friends that day, and from then on we were up and running. My kids learned to read, they became busy with play dates, projects, homework, and school plays. They were even principal for a day and took pride in wearing their blazers to school, extending recess and getting to sip hot chocolate in the staff room. I think their minds and confidence grew as much as their feet did, as by the end of the year we had gone through several new pairs of shoes. A few more parents even joined my ranks, becoming separated or divorced along the way. We supported one another, and our kids looked to one another for strength. I think we all felt a little less alone.
Now, it’s a time for new beginnings as much as endings. Camp starts on Monday. My boys aren’t ready for sleepover camp and I’m secretly thankful. I want to see their faces and smell the sunscreen on their skin each day. They are growing up faster than I ever imagined and I want to keep them close for as long as I can. I want to pack their lunches, hug them when they get on the bus, and talk about their new friends and adventures when they come home.
I remember their first day of camp three years ago; they ran off in separate directions when the camp bus pulled up to our driveway on day 1. “We’re not going to camp!” they screamed. My neighbours and I had to wrangle them and load them on the bus. I have a feeling this summer will be different. Through each experience, my kids have become stronger, more resilient, capable, and confident.
We’ve been through so much together, just the three of us, a tight-knit little family. They know I’ll be waiting for them at the edge of our driveway when they return home from camp each afternoon. New beginnings might be scary, but we always get through it together.