Posts Tagged ‘Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder’

For the First Time Ever…I Am Ready!

In Family, Pursuit of Happiness on August 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm

The temperature in Texas is still hovering above the 100-degree mark, but as of tomorrow, summer vacation officially ends.  Ever since my son started going to school, I have always found the start of the school year to be a bit depressing because I enjoy having him home.  And while I still love having him around all of the time, for the first time ever, I am ready for the school year to begin.

This has been a summer unlike any other that I have ever experienced.  The highlight of the summer was (by a large margin) our visit to New York.  Although we have now lived in Texas for over a year, we all still refer to New York as “home.” The three-week visit to New York was incredible, and yet, it was still a bit disappointing.  The one thing that our visit brought to light is the fact that, despite our best efforts to do so, squeezing a year’s worth of living into a whirlwind three-week “vacation” is virtually impossible.

Lost in the midst of constant car travel (1999 miles to be exact), sleeping on pull-out couches and air mattresses, and visiting with family, is the fact that my wife and I spent nearly every waking moment of the trip with our kids.  On the few occasions that we took advantage of the built-in babysitters to get out of the house, the kids never left each other’s side.

By the time that we got back to Texas, it was obvious that the kids had spent too much time together.  The constant bickering that has taken place since our return is very uncharacteristic of their normal relationship…proof positive that you really can have “too much of a good thing.” Oppressive heat and close quarters have only served to exacerbate the situation, as too much time has been spent inside these four walls in recent weeks.

The selfish part of me would like the summer vacation to continue, but I realize that it is not what is best for my kids.  They need more time apart, and the best way for that to happen is for school to begin.

Like many kids, my son is not looking forward to starting school again.  We did our best to help him keep his mind off of the fact that school is starting tomorrow by taking him out to his favorite place to eat, followed by an afternoon spent at the bookstore (one of his favorite places to go).  At times, he got lost in the moment and just enjoyed himself, but several times in the bookstore, I caught him staring off into space with a forlorn look in his eyes.

As a parent, I never want to see my kids in any kind of pain.  Even though I know full well that he will most likely come home happy from school tomorrow once he realizes that he was fretting over nothing, I still wanted to do anything possible to make him smile.  No amount of rationalizing was going to work, so I decided to take a different approach.

It is said that “laughter is the best medicine, ” so I decided that making my son laugh was a much better plan than trying to get him to come to the realization that going back to school will actually be good for him.  I walked him over to the “Humor” section of the bookstore and found a book filled with short snippets of real-life incidents that had him laughing out loud as he read them.  By the time that we left the bookstore, he was in good spirits.  But it didn’t last.

After being home for a while, his mind once again started to race as he pondered what the first day of school is going to be like.  Seeing that my son was upset, my little one pulled a trick from his playbook that he uses to cheer her up when she is sad or hurt.  She went into my son’s drawer, got out a pair of underwear, put them on her head, and started doing a silly dance around the living room.  I guess she figured that it always works on her, so she might as well return the favor.  It took some time, but finally, we were all laughing and imitating her dance.

The fact that my little one wanted to cheer her brother up is commendable.  The fact that she had the wherewithal to use his trick shows me just how fast she is growing up.  Perhaps her recent bout with tantrums is more about frustration over a perceived lack of independence, and less about just sheer bratty behavior.  Regardless of the reason, I still think that it is good that she is about to start pre-school in another week.  Of course, there is always a chance that the selfish part of me will not be so happy on her first day of school since the bickering will likely subside with my son starting school.  After all…“absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

For years, I have heard parents say that they cannot wait for the school year to begin, and it always struck me as odd.  And yet, this year, I find myself feeling the same way.  As much as I have grown weary of the petty arguments, I truly feel this way because I think that the separation will do them both a world of good.  Hopefully, the time apart will allow them to once again appreciate each other the way that they did when the summer began.

Will I miss having my kids around every day?  Absolutely!  Am I looking forward to being woken up by the alarm clock and the ensuring mad scramble to get them ready and out the door on time?  Absolutely not!  But I truly believe that the beginning of the school year will restore the equilibrium that existed in our home a few short months ago.

Even though I am ready for school to begin, I have a sneaking feeling that the impact of dropping my little girl off for the first time will inspire a post that contradicts this one (at least to some degree).  I guess it is all part of being a parent.

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