“Raising a kid is part joy and part guerilla warfare.” -Ed Asner

 

Hahaha. Well said, Ed.

I’ve often reflected that there is nothing on earth for which an individual would be completely unprepared if he/she had first had the opportunity to be a parent.

Child-rearing requires an extensive personal resume consisting of various skills; everything from tolerance and patience to impressive ingenuity.

We parents have admirable mediator skills and are intuitive psychotherapists. We act as motivational speakers, executive chefs, CEO’s, tutors, nursemaids, professional organizers and more.

There is no vocation requiring a greater range of abilities or a more diverse skill set.

And the hours are ridiculous! No nights off. No free weekends. Forget a forty-hour work week.

And don’t even think about calling in sick. I’ve tried. For some inexplicable reason, children still need parents regardless of your inability to hold your food down.

Go figure.

Despite that, there’s NOTHING I would rather do. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a firm believer in having a rich diversified life replete with varied interests and pursuits of personal growth outside of my role as mother. Few things make you a better parent and partner than becoming a more fulfilled person. Embracing the opportunity to evolve alongside your children, each of us can be stronger, more complete individuals and thus better serve our posterity.

These are things I often find myself thinking as we near the end of summer. The lower temperatures and abbreviated periods of daylight, are harbingers of the coming autumn; a time of resumed school schedules, wardrobe replenishments and all the social milestones this period provides.

It’s a reminder that time is fleeting. That childhood doesn’t last forever and that each day is but a brief expanse of time that all too quickly tumbles into the next.

The days are long, but the years are short.

At the beginning of each year, I choose a box and scrawl the year and school grade on the side. Initially, it’s nothing but a box–a six-sided, cardboard structure bereft of physical contents; holding nothing but expectations for the coming year. Slowly over the years I have composed a structured wall of mismatched boxes bearing the labels kindergarten through fifth grade.

And now, I’m writing the words, “2011-2012. Sixth grade,” on another box. I could invest in a plastic one and have them all be beautifully coordinated, but I am nothing if not a gifted re-purposer and I love anything old. There’s something lovely and romantic about knowing an item had a life before I found it.

Yes. Even a cardboard box.

But, I digress. This year’s box will house fanciful short stories, homespun craft projects, artwork composed of diverse and likely unexpected mediums and highly-informative reports.

You know–all the things that really only mean something to the actual biological relations of the child.

But to me, these things are possessions valued above almost everything else. They’re memories in a more tangible form. My memory alters the inanimate nature of these things and turns each of them into these vivid recollections I have of the numerous bygone eras her life has already presented. These items are representative of all the various stages of growth I’ve seen as a mother.

Not only her growth but mine as well.

So each year when she returns to those hallowed halls of the local elementary school, I pull a special journal out of my desk drawer; one dedicated exclusively to my yearly fall resolutions. They’re a more evolved version of New Year’s resolutions. The preceding months have honed my perspective and the pending emptiness of my home reminds me of a need to school myself in whatever courses the Universe sees me in need of at that time.

I am, after all, currently working toward an advance degree in Awesomeness from the University of Life. I just recently had a grueling final in the form of cancer. For those of you who are curious, I aced it! FYI.

So I’ve decided to dedicate many of September’s blog posts to this whole experience of educating oneself for the sake of self improvement. Developing some good, ‘back to school,’ habits in the interest of graduating to a better version of ourselves.

And, because I’m hyper-aware and super-sensitive, I’ll shed more than a couple tears as Allie returns to school and my life shifts from the lazy, relaxed days of summer to the more rigid, ordered days of the school year.

It’s also yet another opportunity for the Universe to remind me that I’m a work in progress. Just on the offchance that I had forgotten that. Not likely. 😉

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett

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