The Night Before School Starts

It's here. The night before school starts. There are a lot of firsts for us tomorrow. I have one entering middle school and one beginning her last year of elementary school. Where has the time gone?

We've bought new clothes and binders and pencils and pens. Calculators and highlighters and dry erase markers too. We've bought a ridiculous number of folders (seriously, one child was told to bring in 12!). We've taken our practice walks to school and talked about what time to leave.

I guess you could say we are ready for school tomorrow. At least the kiddos are. Me? I'm mostly ok. I'm actually excited for both of them. But I'm also kinda trying to beat down the panic because both of my kids will now be walking...walking to either the bus stop or all the way to school.

I didn't see the panic coming with this one. I myself was a walker. Starting in 4th grade, I walked 26 blocks each way to school (no, it wasn't uphill both ways but there was one nasty crossing guard).
I did this for two years and was fine. I've often thought back to some of those days. I've never thought my parents were mean or that I was scared. I just had to walk to and from school.

The problem is this. I've spent so much time and energy keeping my kiddos safe, now I worry I haven't properly prepared them. I don't know if I am a classic helicopter parent because I have some tough views on parenting (yes, I let my infants cry themselves to sleep. Judge me if it makes you feel better. But my kids were sleeping through the night by 3 months old and I never looked back). I am part Tough Love. And I am part...keep them out of that situation because they could get hurt. I don't grossly cater to my kids (they pack their own lunches). But I realized tonight, my son will be 12 in a few weeks and he has almost never crossed the street on his own. In my defense, I live on a busy street. And drivers are so preoccupied with their phones and everything else...right?

So here I am, the night before I send him off to school on his own and I'm panicking because how will I know if he's safe? He hasn't had to look in every direction as he crossed streets because I've always done it. Ugh...

What can I do? Like I mentioned above, we've taken a few practice walks to the school. I've talked to him about constantly looking around (but don't make eye contact). Watch for turning cars because if the drivers are running late, they won't be looking for you. I told him to stop and really look before stepping into the road. We talked about which side of the street will be safer (traffic-wise). And that's it. That's all I get. I will pray he is safe and that he remember what I've tried to share with him.

I know in a few days, this will be our new routine and I'll just laugh about all this. I know enough about myself to realize this is just because its new. But it still sucks. Because if I had thought ahead I would have seen this coming and he and I would both be better prepared.

I know I haven't done anything wrong. It just struck me that in my efforts to keep my children safe, I fear I have stunted their growth. They will be fine. I will also be ok. I know this too. But I am really looking forward to tomorrow after work when I get to hear all about the first day. A lot of firsts for us tomorrow. That's scary, but exciting too. I'll be praying hard for the safety of my kiddos and for my own peace of mind. When you think about it, it's all the "firsts" that make us stronger.

Are you ready for school to start? Have you struggled with a moment of "I should have let them..."? How do you "hold on loosely"?

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