Today was the end of the school year in America. Yep, Brit friends, you know that half term you’re having… and the other WHOLE HALF TERM you’ll have before the summer holidays? Well, here it’s a bit like that, but they don’t go back to school. Can you imagine? Are you wondering what you might do for a week? I’VE GOT 12! It starts today.
There are aspects of that alone that might induce tears, and today there have been tears, but it’s not even (all) because of that 12 weeks thing.
This may not just be a Mum thing (Dads, confirm? I’ve never been one), but for me, and many Mums I know, the end of a school year is something that’s emotional in ways you don’t see coming. I mean, in relative terms it’s not a sad thing, not by a long shot. I mean growing kids is what we’re doing here, there’s no single desirable alternative*. But, and so far I can say this is annually consistent, there is a moment when, in those last days of school, you will unexpectedly burst into tears.
*excluding the invention of side effect free time travel
I have felt my moment brewing for a few days. I’ve found myself gazing at the 2 of them feeling lip wobbly. Holly just gets wiser and sweeter by the day. Ben, currently 6 is reaching INSANE levels of cuteness. On a regular basis, and I mean several times daily, he is saying: “Mama… I wanna tell you sumfink…” Me: “Yes, Ben?” Ben: “I lllllove you. You’re beautiful.” He means it too, it’s sometimes to get snacks but not always.
Then there’s my FB feed. There’s a tradition in America, at the end of the school year to post pics of your kids from that start of the year holding a blackboard to real time holding the same blackboard. I’ve been looking at these all day with a mysterious lump in the throat.
And then it happens. I open Ben’s backpack and there’s this letter from his teacher. And I’m WAAAAAAAAAAAH. This letter. This is ALL the emotion.
This is a year of watching then climb up into their buses. This is a year of seeing their little faces watching from the windows and managing to make them crack up by doing monkey impressions (it still works!). This is seeing Ben cry with frustration at not being able to read a word and smile with pride when eventually he did. This is him clinging to my leg after a class visit. This is him proudly ignoring me on another one because he’s having too much fun. This is Holly crying because she thinks she’s upset someone and then going back to make it right. This is her dancing with the shy kid at the school disco. This is her nailing 100 minutes reading every week (loosely timed) and this is her crying because she’d going to miss her teacher.
This is 9 months of our kids growing up and everything that goes with it, their work and ours.
It’s this letter.
So for all the Moms reading this (and the Brit Mums in 7 weeks time… grrrr), this is for the moment you cry. Because you know you will, you just won’t know when.
And those surprise tears, well deep down, we know what they are about. They are for the days, many years to come, when we will look at them with a smile and remember the time they just thought we were beautiful.