Friday, September 12, 2014
The Last Year
I, of course, am hyper aware of this being the last year I am home with both my babies* and trying to treasure the everyday moments that won't be possible once Leo starts kindergarten next fall. I know school isn't the end of our time together, but it's going to be a huge bite out of the time we currently have together and, frankly, it's going to cramp our style.
Top five things I will miss when Leo starts school:
1. Our Epic Breakfasts
Since we don't usually have somewhere to be first thing in the morning, our breakfasts can stretch over two (plus!) hours and several courses. Some days breakfast just fades into lunch. Usually we start our morning feast with a kale smoothie - then it's kid's choice. The kids sit sipping smoothies and chatting while I stir the oatmeal or mix batter for pancakes. If the "main course" isn't ready when they finish their smoothies they will munch on fruit or yogurt. If we don't have any major plans for the morning it's so nice to linger over our meal and conversation. These relaxed breakfasts set a great tone for the day.
2. Less Crowded Outings
With weekday daylight hours as our playground we have access to all the best spots when they are sparsely populated. We avoid long lines from amusement parks to the grocery store and the kids can really get comfortable with their favorite destinations like the Please Touch Museum or the Zoo. I've come to take this so for granted that I avoid doing popular activities on weekends or busy seasons because - ugh, the crowds!
3. Long Aimless Walks
I love walking - which is really good since I don't drive. We walk all over West Philly - to playgrounds, grocery stores, libraries, cafes and the YMCA. Sometimes we just walk for the sake of walking. When we have a further destination we will take the bus/train to get there, play hard at said destination, and then I will push the kids home in the stroller. This usually results in an easy nap for both kids (and at 4 yrs. old, Leo is a rare napper) and a built in workout for me. Plus, we save the $2.25 on bus fare....which goes towards the latte I stop for while both kids are quiet and resting. It's a great way to see the city and get time outdoors. We've walked home from center city, Fairmount Park and even Bryn Mawr (I DO NOT recommend that last one).
4. Travel Without Limits
OK, we still have financial limits - and the limits of time and space, but as of right now, we can visit my family in Pittsburgh for two weeks or go to Mexico for a month or take a day trip to the shore without too much planning. I like being in charge of my own schedule and having room for some spontaneity.
5. Being The Biggest Influence In His Life.
I remember the first time Leo sang me a song I didn't teach him. It felt so strange to realize he was absorbing information and lessons from sources outside our family. Over the last few years those outside influence have grown. TV shows, friends, and the world at large have added to his reservoir of knowledge and shape his world view. Still, I feel pretty confidant that jb and I are still the strongest influences in his life. When he goes to school the number of hours he spends with his teachers and peer will rival his waking hours at home. I hope jb and I will remain his strongest influences - at least for a few more years, but for the first time in his life we are going to have some real competition.
I think Leo is going to love school. I really do. He loves learning and structure and making friends. Once kindergarten rolls around we will all adjust to our new schedules and limits. I know Leo will thrive in school. Zoe will benefit from some time to be my main focus. And maybe I'll even get to pee alone. It will be fine. It will be better than fine, it will be great. I'm optimistic about his experience with school and I also know how fortunate we are to have these years together before he embarks on his formal education. When it's over, I'm not actually worried about the logistics of it all. We will manage to eat something in under two hours. We will learn to brave the crowds on the weekends. We are a very adaptable bunch and this will just be one more thing we grow accustomed to, but at the root of that adjustment is really that I'm just going to miss him so darn much. I'm so grateful for this time with my kids and I'm committed to making the most of this last year.
*This is of course assuming that Wolf beats Corbett in the governor race and the Philly school system can begin to rebuild itself - otherwise we may have to give homeschooling another look.