Editor's note: Jill Adams is a professional writer based in Fort Wayne.
It seems like yesterday I was fervently worrying about my son's first day of school. I distinctly remember running through every worst-case scenario in my mind and creating subsequent crisis management plans to handle them. The “what-ifs” seemed endless: what if he didn't make friends, forgot his lunch, didn't know the answer… Letting him go on that first day was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as a parent.
Now, after nine of the fastest months of my life, I can happily confirm that all of my fears were completely unfounded. My son assimilated with ease, developing an endearing familiarity with his school. While it may have taken my husband and me a little longer to adjust, we still watched happily as our son soaked up all his new knowledge. The school year proved to be fun and relatively worry-free for all of us.
However, I must still admit that as summer vacation appeared on the horizon, I became quite excited. I couldn't help it; the idea of having all the kids together again every day had me thinking about all the adventures and fun we could have. It would be like old times.
“Can you believe it?” I asked my son. “Just a few more weeks and it will be summer break! We can go to baseball games, hit the water park, get ice cream…”
I trailed off as I looked over at him and saw a forlorn little face.
“What's wrong?” I asked him.
“I'm going to miss school,” he said solemnly.
I sat back and processed what I had just heard. In my youth, I had welcomed summer break with open arms. My son's disappointment had me traversing foreign territory.
“But we'll have so much fun!” I assured him.
“You can sleep in,” I said hopefully.
“Maybe even stay up a little later…?”
“I just really like school,” he said dejectedly.
And with that, I arrived at a parenting crossroad. On one hand, I wished my son was more excited about spending his days with his family; but on the other, I loved and respected the fact that he had found a home away from home. I realized that as a mother, I couldn't ask for more than a school that made my son so happy. I pulled him close for a hug.
“I know, and I think that's amazing,” I told him.
My recognition of his feelings finally elicited a half smile. I knew we would have fun once summer was underway—he just needed time to readjust. I resolved to be patient and try to keep my excitement somewhat contained over the next few weeks.
The days flew by, and before I knew it, I was watching my little boy perform in his school's end-of-year musical. I beamed with pride as he executed his role, knowing how much thought and practice he had put into it. Afterwards, I waited excitedly for him as his teacher filed his class through the hallway.
“You have an amazing child,” she told me with her sweet smile.
The tears sprang to my eyes before I could stop them. My son had a teacher who saw everything in him that I did, and gratitude welled up inside me.
“Thank you,” I said shakily, returning her smile.
It was then that I realize I'm going to miss our school this summer, too.