The older kids get, the less bittersweet some milestones seem

  • Thursday, August 15, 2013

This is the first summer, in the history of all summers, that I haven’t openly rejoiced with singing and clapping of hands at the arrival of the school supply aisle at Wal-mart. Maybe it’s because school started so early for us this year or maybe because my kids sleep late, make themselves breakfast and only wake me so they can climb into bed with me and go back to sleep. Regardless of how I feel about it, summer is over and it’s school time again.

That’s not to say that I’m sad to see summer go. It’s been hotter than a hoochie-coo down here in the Mississippi Delta and for the last week I’ve had to bribe my kids to go swimming. They’ve just lain on the floor, glassy eyed, staring at me with open mouths while I tried to talk them into bathing suits.

Wearing a swimsuit, sunscreen, a baseball hat and sunglasses, I cajole, “Come on, who’s ready to go to the pool?”

“You are,” Aubrey, my 9-year-old, says dryly from the floor — she swears it’s cooler down there.

“Let’s get dressed. Come on, or I’m going to leave you here.” I threaten. (Don’t worry, they know I won’t actually leave them.)

“Bye.” Emma, my 7-year-old, says from behind an iPad.

Sadie, my 4-year-old, puts on a swimsuit only after promises of Popsicles, and the suit she puts on belongs to her oldest sister. (Speaking of hoochie-coos — I can see hers.)

This is a big year for us, school wise — for the first time ever in the history of the family O’Bryant, all three of my children will be at the same school.

Do you hear that? That’s angels singing.

Sadie is starting 4K at the Big Girls’ elementary school, and I’m not sure who is more excited — me or Sadie. She gets to wear a uniform like her sisters (which, in case you were wondering, she is wearing right this very second) and I no longer have to drive all over creation to pick up, drop off and go to Christmas parties, school plays, etc. One location. One. Glory.

I always thought the day that Sadie started “Big School” would be bittersweet. I remember dropping Aubrey off for her first day of preschool as a 2-year-old and crying all the way back to our house in Savannah, Ga. It’s funny how different milestones for different kids sneak up on you. Some make you cry. Some make you laugh. Some make you shout and sing praises in the school supply aisle at Walmart. And some milestones simply are.

My kids are all in elementary school and it just is. I’m excited for them, for the year they will have, to know that they will pass each other in the halls and be excited to see each other. I’m glad to have them all in one place, together, even if it’s not with me — but just think of all the stories their teachers will be able to tell.

Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.

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