Here’s what I love about Vermont.
I have told a few people over the past few days that I’m ready to go back to work. Me, as in the person outside of mommy, is ready to send her children back to school and preschool so that she can do something other than be home with them. My statement wasn’t about the need to go back to work but the want. The desire to have independence and a life outside of my children.
And my fellow Ver-mommers? No one has batted an eye or even quietly sucked in her breath in response to my statement. No one has judged me.
Me, the mom who stayed home for some six years and was co-organizer of the Fairfield County Attachment Parenting Group. Wanting to work. Ready for the next cycle. Ready for more.
Summer? It’s been fun. Awesome, really. One of my three children went to camp for four days. Other than that, it’s been us, exploring, baking, laughing, visiting our NJ family, basking in all of summer’s glory. It’s been nothing short of amazing.
But here’s the thing. Part of the brilliance of summer has been knowing that it has to be savored. Yeah, these last few days will be delicious. We’re going to the Champlain Valley Fair tomorrow and will indulge in everything fried and fast-paced. We will go to Lake Iroquois as a family, one last time. We will walk down to Archie’s for a final before-school creemee.
We will BBQ the most amazing and enormous bacon and cheese stuffed burgers from Shelburne Meat Market and delight in watching our kids sloppily devour their new favorite summer treat, buttery grilled corn. I will watch my five year old do her best to scrape the kernels off with her missing top teeth and wait patiently for her to finally give in and ask me to cut the corn off into a bowl for her.
Summer home with my kids for the past few months has been all about giving in. Giving in to the sweet, batter-licking indulgences.
Giving in to later bedtimes and more TV. Giving in to putting dinner off for an hour because the kids are having so much fun riding their bikes through the afternoon storm’s puddles.
Giving in to the fact that the mountains of laundry are still there because it’s just more important to have mountain-sized snuggle sessions instead.
We have given in but like the parents who by mid-April are totally spent on everything end-of-school, I’m now end-of summer. I know I can’t make it much longer with all of this giving in. The kids can’t either. Although it’s been glorious, we’re all ready for the next step. A cycle of morning rhythms and evening preparations. A cycle of menu planning and bedtime stories. A cycle of budding readers and excited car-ride home stories from the school day. A cycle of more expectations but also of knowing what comes next. And yes, a cycle of figuring out how to fit in both the mountainous laundry and the snuggles.
Last fall I did not go back to work by choice. I spent far too long dwelling over the non-choice. But now, after the summer of giving in, I realize how excited I am for our next steps. My middle daughter is beginning kindergarten and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid so ready and enthusiastic for the next step. She’s embracing it, in all of its newness. It’s hers. She owns it. She’s taught me to own my next step, to embrace the cycles of our family’s days.
Last summer was one of intense, fearful anticipation of what was around the corner. Now? I can’t wait to gather around the dinner table at night, talking about apple picking and going for early Sunday morning trips for cider donuts. I can’t wait to rake piles of crunchy autumn leaves just to destroy them in flying leaps. I can feel the eager anticipation of the first snow-day, dancing together when they call off school. I feel it like I am still a kid myself. And knowing that just when we’ve had enough snow, when we cannot take one more trip to the sledding hill, when we’ve picked up our final soggy sock and we are spent trying to remember every last mitten, hat, boot and lunch, that spring and all of it’s jacketless, budding next steps will be cycling in, just around the corner.