Posts Tagged ‘empty nest’

Its another “do over”


This is why I love to teach.

Every year is a “do over”.  The mistakes of last year are gone. The slate is clean, the pencils are sharp, the bulletin board paper is unscathed.

I can look back on last year, and every year before it, and I can see how much I have grown as a teacher, as an adult, as a Mom, as a human.

I love this back to school tension.

But it makes me sad, too.

I envy those Moms who are setting out the new backpacks and new sneakers.  The ones who bought juice boxes and Goldfish crackers and string cheese.  I envy them the slightly clinging embraces of their children this week, as they contemplate the time apart.

I miss those first days of school as a Mommy, I do.  I miss the rush and the bustle and the last big dinner before we all head back into the fray.

If I cast my mind back even farther, I miss the days when my sister Liz and I would carefully hang up our new wool skirts and our new fall colored sweaters, ready for the next morning. I miss the feeling of seeing my friends again after the horrible long stretch of summer days without them.

I am lucky. I am a teacher.  I don’t have to miss those clean new notebooks and those shiny new pens. I have them! I don’t have to miss the night-before butterflies or the headache that invariably comes with the confusion of the very first day.

I find myself perched with tingling anticipation this year.  I miss the start of the year for my own little ones, but I am so incredibly eager to find myself surrounded once again by all the energy and optimism and laughter of a new batch of kids who I can happily call “mine” for the next nine months.

Happy First Day of School, to all the kids, Moms, Dads and teachers out there!

Post Empty Nest Syndrome


God, I hate June.

I hate it.

I wait all winter for the warm weather, grumbling and growling through every snowstorm and every icy morning.   I bemoan the short days of winter, yearning with all my heart for the late evening sunsets of the warmer months.

But I hate June.

I love the first barbecue of the year, and the smell of smoke that lingers in my clothes and hair.  I love the fireflies and the butterflies.  I love the gorgeous bursting colors of the rhododendron and azalea, and the heady perfume of the peonies.   I even love to mow the new grass, breathing deep as the fresh clean smell of it surrounds me.

But June?

I just hate June.

June reminds me that my nest is now empty, and all of my fledglings have flown.  June brings back the deeply aching sadness that comes with letting go of children you really love.

When my own three children moved out, I thought about them every single night.   The same thing happens those first weeks of summer vacation, after I have said goodbye to my class.

When my  home nest first emptied, I heard the “ghost voices” of my children, telling those familiar jokes, sharing those familiar stories.  The same thing happens to me each summer.

As a mother, I knew that my children had to grow up and move on.  I knew the day that I gave birth to each of them that I would only hold onto them for a while, that if I did my job well, they would be ready to venture out on their own.

As a teacher, I know each September that I am only borrowing these little ones for a very brief time.  I know as I learn their nicknames that in a few short months, if I do my job well, they will be ready to enter the next grade.

As a mother, I knew that I had to love them deeply but not possessively; to hold your child back is always wrong.  To let him go, wrapped in your love, is always the right thing to do.

As a teacher, I know that I have to love them in order to reach them, but I also understand that they are only supposed to love me from September to June.  To send them off, independent and confident, is always a teacher’s goal.

So I hate the month of June.  The month of goodbyes and thank you’s and “I will visit you next year”s, when I know that if I have actually done a good job, and if all goes well, these children who I love so well will come to see me the first week of school, but will then slip seamlessly into the life of their new classroom, their time in my care fading to a hopefully happy memory.

June breaks my heart.  Every single year.

June reminds me that all of my nests are empty now.

Jeez, I really hate June.

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