I've been enjoying seeing the first-day-of-school pictures the Mamas are proudly posting on Facebook this week.
I couldn't help comparing these pictures with the days when my own children started school. If we took pictures at all, it was with film and weeks later before we saw the pictures. And then the photo may have been a dud that did not properly preserve the moment.
Reading the comments mothers are making with their photos tells me that even though technology has changed, mothering has not. There is pride and excitement at seeing the first one march off to kindergarten or first grade, and also some sadness and trepidation. The little one that has been under our care 24/7 is now going out into the big scary world where others will have an influence on him or her.
By the time the last one begins the march to the first day of school, mothers have gotten used to sending children to school and the tone of the comments changes. There is still excitement but with the flavor of relief. At last! I have a quiet house all day to get things done without someone underfoot. I can identify with that feeling too. How long a mother has preschoolers varies with the number and age spread of the children. Since our six were spread over fifteen years, I had preschoolers in the house for twenty years. I wasn't sure I knew how to function without a preschooler around when the last one started kindergarten. It took me about two days to get used to and decide I liked it!
For so many years, my daily and annual schedule revolved around school---buying new clothes and school supplies in August, packing lunches, driving to and from school, helping with homework, going to school functions, paying tuition. After the last one graduated from high school we had a break for a few years and then he started college. Our involvement in school days began in 1974 when the first one went to first grade and ended in 2010 when the youngest graduated from college.
This is my moment of triumph at crossing the finish line. All done but the shouting!
School was a fact of life for many years. I didn't hate it, but I certainly am counting my blessings that I don't have to deal with school anymore. Been there done that.