Between you and me: A back to school letter to parents

Between you and me: A back to school letter to parents

Lisa Vallejos

This time of year is exciting for both parents and children. New schools, new friends, new school clothes, new things to learn, the smell of new erasers, perfectly sharpened crayons and fresh new haircuts. There is an air of anticipation, as we wonder what the new school year will bring. And if we are totally honest, some of us parents are relieved at the idea of our kids being out of our care for a few hours a day. It’s not that we don’t love our kids, because of course we do — they are our most treasured people. It’s just that ... well, parenting is a huge responsibility and sometimes, it just feels good to have a break.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of parenting, it’s that the days go so slow but the years go fast. It’s cliché, but it’s true — you blink and suddenly your baby is a toddler and then, a teenager. Your mind is filled with memories and your photo album with captured moments, and you wonder where the years have gone. You might even wish you could slow it down for a moment. I know I sure do. But if we are lucky, we will see them grow up, leave our nest and fly into their own lives. And we will listen to the quiet in our empty (clean) homes, see our calendar pages not crammed with a million things to do, places to go, people to call, and while we might relish it for a moment, rest assured that we will miss these crazy childhood days.

So, as your kiddo gets ready to go back to school, remember to be kind to yourself. When you go school shopping for them, get yourself something nice as well. It is not just your children who are moving onto the next grade — you are too. Although they may never know the sacrifices you have made for them, you do. The victories are etched in the lines beside your eyes, the grays in your hair and the tears you’ve shed in the quiet of the night.

Those first few hectic days back to school can be challenging but I encourage you to remember the most important thing of all, which is that these precious days will never come again. You’ll never have another first day of kindergarten or sixth grade with that child. You can never revisit today, so it’s important to live in the “now.” Plan your schedule so you can get maximum efficiency out of your day, but always be sure to keep your relationships on the top of the list. Practice good self-care so that you’re not burned out while managing all of the business life brings.

And before you leave your kiddos at school, be sure to pause and drink deeply of the moment. Bask in their joy, their beauty, their growing up, and carve the memory into your heart.

Happy trails, fellow travelers.