June and the end of the school year is always bittersweet around here, but when the month ends with a milestone like a graduation, those sentiments get magnified to the point where I find myself flipping through old photos of when the kids were young with their chubby cheeks and adorable matching haircuts because I want to hold on to them longer. Sappy I know, but I am a wildly sentimental person. More so as I get older. Middle school graduation has hit the hardest so far because there are so many changes that happen during those years and most kids in the city leave their district schools and many of their friends who they’ve been with for the past 9 years as they scatter to different high schools all over the city. There is some serious growing up that happens in middle school.
There is so much that I’ve wanted to write about parenting and the kids over the years, but knowing that I shouldn’t out of privacy for the family always prevails. I feel like kids need us more when they’re older, for emotional and academic support, which I find a hell of a lot more challenging than the early years when I just had to make sure they were housed and fed. I know many of you would be able to relate to some of the experiences and challenges of having teens as we all age together, and there have been times at night when my insomnia is bad and my thoughts are so overwhelming that I’ve wanted to write them down here like I used to in the past. I realized in looking over some of my favorite posts that my writing was at its best when I could tell stories of what’s happening in our lives and inject them with a little humor. What’s parenting without a little humor! But somewhere along the way I lost the humor. Parenting can be lonely sometimes. We all need an outlet. For me it used to be here.
It’s the first day of July. We’ve had a few days last week to reset from the end of the school year which just ended for NYC public schools. I won’t lie and say that I didn’t get teary on the last day of school (I totally did, and by all accounts judging on how I handled this graduation, I expect to be full out balling at the high school one). June was such a whirlwind month of end of the year senior activities that culminated in a very lovely graduation ceremony and lunch, that we all had to decompress and adjust to summer’s sudden slower pace. The kids asked me why I get so sad when school ends. It’s funny isn’t it? They’re so giddy that they have a break from the grind of school and homework that they just don’t understand. I told them that parents get a little sad because it’s a real marker of time and now that they’re older, also a countdown clock to how many years we have left with them. But I do remember that thrill of rushing out the doors on the last day of school and that feeling of pure elation that I had nothing to do for months. Months! (And then boredom sets in, but that’s an entirely different story). Time marches differently for the young. I’m a bit envious that they only seem to have the ability to always look forword. As adults, how do we get some of that back?